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Children's SSI

SSI benefits are available to disabled children younger than 18 whose parent(s) have limited income and resources.  The rules and regulations for determining disability for children are different from those used in adult claims, and many of the medical issues and disabilities are unique to children’s claims.  This section of the website is devoted to those issues.  Information on the income and resources tests for children’s SSI can be found on our Non-Disability page.




SSA will consider a claimant disabled if s/he meets all the criteria set forth in its listings of impairments. SSA’s listings for childhood claims are at

If a child does not meet a listed impairment, s/he may still be found disabled under SSA’s “sequential evaluation” for children.

More Children's Listings & Sequential Evaluation >>




In 2009, SSA published a series of Social Security Rulings (SSRs) designed to help adjudicators decide children’s claims. They can be found at These SSRs can prove helpful to advocates as well.


For articles summarizing court cases and administration law judge or Appeals Council decision involving children’s claims,

Children's SSRS Children's Cases and Administrative Decisions




This section includes training materials that SSA developed for its adjudicators.  The 2001 Q&A Compendium addresses policies implementing the Commissioner's Report on Children's SSI Re-determinations.  It also includes useful guidance for determining functional equivalence.  Although much of the content has been incorporated into the 2009 Social Security Ruling (SSRs) for evaluating functional equivalence in childhood claims, the Q&As have not been specifically rescinded by the SSRs, and in some instances provide more in depth instructions than found in the SSRs.

SSA Pub. 64-076 at Tab B relates to mental retardation.  A discussion of IQ scores, definitions, diagnoses, and treatment methodology is examined. Tab F includes information regarding maladaptive behavior, including training tips, definitions of what "maladaptive behavior" consists of, mental disorders indicative of maladaptive behavior, lists of applicable medications and case adjudication issues.  Note that these training materials (variously referred to the "Headless Child Instruction" or "Pink Cover" manual) were issued prior to the promulgation of the final childhood regulations in January 2001, which changed the way that functional equivalency is assessed. To the extent that these materials address ways in which to meet a listing, however, they are still relevant. They are specifically incorporated into SSA's 2001 compendium of Q&As at Section II-1, issued following publication of the final regulations in 2001. Nor were they rescinded with the publication of the 2009 SSRs.

The Empire Justice Center has posted these materials because, while never rescinded or replaced by SSA, they have never been accessible through the SSA website.

More SSA's Q&As on Children's Disability Determinations >>




This section list articles on miscellaneous kid's issues. 

More Miscellaneous Kid's Issues >>