Continue receiving disability benefits as an adult?
If you have been receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits as a child and you have recently turned eighteen years of age, you may have lost your SSI benefits. If this happened the Social Security Administration most likely performed a new assessment of your disabling health condition and determined you now have the ability to work.
Children's disability requirements vs. an Adult's requirements
Children are determined disabled if their condition meets a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments (Child Listing- Part B). They can also receive SSI benefits if they can prove their condition is "functionally equivalent to a listing."
If you are now an adult the SSA is required to reevaluate your condition to determine if your condition continues to meet a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments (Adult Listing- Part A) or if you lack the functional ability to work.
The good news is many conditions are similar for both the child and adult listings. If your condition meets a listing on the child's list it is likely it will also meet a condition on the adult list and you will continue to receive benefits.
What if your condition was not on the list but was functionally equivalent to the listings? You will now need to prove, as an adult, that your condition affects your ability to complete work activities. This process is done through a medical vocational allowance.
How will the SSA assess your functional capacity to work through a medical vocational allowance?
Generally, when the SSA is determining whether a claimant can work they will evaluate the claimant's RFC or residual functional capacity. This is done by analyzing their exertional and non-exertional limitations.
For example, the SSA will determine if you have the skills to perform work by evaluating how your condition affected your ability to complete tasks at school, interact with other students, complete the physical requirements of school, and stay focused for an extended period of time. The SSA assumes that difficulties experienced in the classroom or while volunteering could translate to difficulties within the workplace.
Evidence used to make the adult disability determination
The SSA will use a wide array of information to make their disability determination. Not only will they review your medical information including your diagnosis, prognosis, doctor's notes and medical test results to determine if your condition remains debilitating, they also review other sources.
For example, the SSA will review statements and information from physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, social workers, parents, family friends, and others close to you. They will also discuss your case with teachers and other educational resources who had contact with you on a daily basis to determine how well you could adapt to a work setting.
If you are now eighteen years old and your condition does not meet a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments for adults, you may lose your SSI benefits. Before making this determination, however, the SSA is required to perform a full assessment of your condition and determine whether your exertional and non-exertional limitations would make it possible for you to perform work.
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A disability lawyer is only paid if they win your case. If they win they are paid a specific amount of your back pay up to a predetermined limit. Hiring a lawyer will generally improve your chances of winning benefits at every stage of the disability process.