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Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
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Questions Raised After a Child Is Denied Social Security


Posted on Dec 04, 2013

For a two-year-old, life should be filled with happiness, laughter, and play. For Maziah Mills-Sorrells, dressed in her coat, she looks like she’s living the life of the typical two-year-old. Yet when she takes her coat off, the signs of her rare condition, Klumpke’s palsy, are noticeable.

Klumpke’s palsy has paralyzed Maziah’s arm since a birth injury left her with a permanent disability. Now, her parents—who live in poverty—are trying to get child-disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). They have been denied the benefits they need, but the SSA will not explain why.

Maziah’s family receives Medicaid, which helps cover her medical bills. These bills include a surgery that was unsuccessful in helping Maziah’s condition. After medical costs, experts say that children with disabilities cost their families $6,000 to $20,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

Supplemental Security Income for Disabled Children

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program was designed to help families with less than $3,000 in assets and incomes less than twice the poverty level. About 60 percent of the people who receive benefits have children who suffer from mental disabilities. The program as a whole denies about 60 percent of the applications that are filed.

Maziah’s mom works 50 hours a week at two health-care jobs. She lives with Maziah’s father, who was just laid off from his fast-food job. Their family’s income is $17,000 annually, which falls below the poverty line.

The Mills-Sorrellses have attempted to negotiate with the federal system that was designed to help low-income families with costs for caring for a disabled child. Now, Maziah’s family is heading to federal court to pursue another attempt to receive the benefits they need to live their lives caring for a seriously disabled child.

As Boston SSI attorneys, we understand how critical it is families like Maziah’s receive the financial help they need. We send our best wishes to the family in hopes that they will soon be approved.

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John L. Keefe
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