Children and teenagers in Tennessee who suffer from severe eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to help to pay for their treatment if they qualify. The child’s eating disorder must meet the Social Security Administration’s impairment criteria and household income guidelines must be met. Treating eating disorders in children may be expensive. Medical care, inpatient stays and ongoing therapy may be necessary. If the functional and financial requirements are met, parents may receive SSI payments on behalf of their children. Health care coverage may also be available to help parents pay for the treatment their children need.
Eating Disorders as Disabling Conditions
To qualify for SSI benefits, the child’s eating disorder must meet the conditions that are outlined by the Social Security Administration. The child must have medical documentation of his or her eating disorder and proof that the change in eating habits has impacted the child’s physical or psychological health. Parents must also be able to prove that the child’s eating disorder has caused the child to have marked impairments in two out of four areas, including social, personal, cognitive or communicative functioning. If the child does not meet these guidelines, he or she may still qualify if an extreme impairment in the ability to learn, socialize, perform tasks, move, or perform self-care exists.
To build a strong case, parents and their disability lawyers must be able to show that the eating disorder prevents the child from functioning at the same level as his or her peers. Psychiatric tests, standardized testing, lab results, and testimony from teachers may be necessary.
Income Requirements for SSI
If the child’s eating disorder qualifies, the Social Security Administration will look at whether the parents’ income meets the eligibility guidelines. Supplemental Security income is designed for people who are financially needy. The income limits are adjusted each year and vary depending on the size of the family. Applicants may also be able to exclude some types of income and deduct certain expenses.
If people qualify, they may receive monthly payments for their children. People may also be able to get Medicaid benefits for children who receive SSI benefits. This can help to pay for the medical treatment and therapy services that children with eating disorders might need to overcome their conditions.