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Does A Child With Tourette's Syndrome Qualify For SSI?

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For a child with Tourette's syndrome, several conditions need to be met to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). A Blue Book will be used as a tool that compares the conditions the child has with what is essential to receive the assistance. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that approximately 138,000 children from the ages of 6 to 17, or 1 out of every 360, have been diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome.

What is Tourette's syndrome?

The cause of Tourette's is unknown, but research indicates it comes from abnormalities in specific brain regions. It is usually evident for children between the ages of three and nine. Motor tics can be as simple as eye blinking, sniffing, grunting sounds, and repetitive throat clearing. Tics become evident and more complex as witnessed with a head or shoulder jerking and facial grimacing. Anxiety and excitement can increase these and other symptoms.

The Blue Book

According to the Blue Book, an SSA's impairment listing manual, Tourette's syndrome is not listed as one of the applicable conditions that could automatically enable a child to receive disability benefits. It might require filling out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation. However, one of the conditions listed in the Blue Book was the applicant doesn't have the ability to maintain a full-time job, and a child cannot work. The Compassionate Allowances program is responsible for expediting the application process.

The Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation

Some of the symptoms that must be met for the child to qualify include ongoing, involuntary, rapid, repetitive, and purposeless movements affecting several muscle groups with various tics. Also, difficulties with one or more of the issues below that aren't caused by a disease or physical illness:

  • Movement and control of the body
  • Speech
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Use of a Limb
  • Physical sensation

Severe difficulties must also be evident in at least two of the following categories; age-appropriate social, personal, or cognitive/communicative functions. Also maintaining concentration, pace, or persistence will have an effect on the outcome.

The Disability Evaluation, listed under Social Security Section 112.00 for childhood tics, indicates a breakdown of qualifications from the disorder requirements above by age groups:

  • Ages 1 to 3 must have one of the age-group criteria (B1 of 112.02)
  • Ages 3 to 18 must have at least two of the age-group criteria (B2 of 112.02)

Each case is different, and the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will provide a residual functional capacity assessment to diagnose your specific situation. Representatives from Social Security will aid you by mail, telephone, or online filing to begin the process. Tourette's syndrome can be a disabling process for your child. Therefore, it is important to do all you can to ensure a productive future for your baby, including check-ups with pediatric doctors while your child is young.