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A child’s disability will be considered to be functionally equivalent to the disability listings if he or she either has an extreme limitation or a minimum of two severe limitations in two out of six different areas. Tennessee parents whose children are disabled may be able to receive SSI benefits even if their children’s disabilities do not meet the Social Security Administration’s listings as long as their impairments are functionally equivalent to them.

What Are Severe and Extreme Limitations?

Limitations are considered to be severe or marked if they interfere with the children’s ability to start, continue or complete tasks independently. Extreme limitations are those that cause serious interference with the children’s ability to function. The Social Security Administration assesses the children’s ability to function on a daily basis to determine whether their disabilities pose severe or extreme limitations to their functioning.

Areas of Limitation

There are six different areas in which the Social Security Administration looks for limitations. These include the child’s ability to acquire and to use information, which involves the child’s ability to learn and to apply information. Another area or domain that the agency looks at is the child’s ability to attend to and complete tasks, which is his or her ability to focus on a task for long enough to finish it. The third domain that is examined is the child’s ability to interact with and to relate with others. Severe speech problems may fall into this domain as a marked or extreme limitation.

The fourth domain that is evaluated is the child’s ability to move around and to physically manipulate objects. The fifth domain that is evaluated is the child’s ability to complete self-care activities such as bathing himself or herself, brushing his or her hair, and other similar tasks. Finally, the Social Security Administration will look to see if there are any impairments in the child’s physical well-being and overall health. If the child is determined to be severely limited in two of the six areas or extremely limited in a single area, he or she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income as long as the family meets the financial eligibility guidelines. If a child’s disabling condition does not meet the listing criteria as outlined by the Social Security Administration, he or she may still receive benefits if the condition is determined to be functionally equivalent to the listings.