SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home517. What is the definition of disability for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) children's disability benefits?

A child under age 18 is eligible to receive SSI based on disability if he or she:

  1. Has very little income and resources (including the income and resources of family members in the same household) (see Chapter 21);

  2. Is not engaging in substantial gainful work activity (see §603);

  3. Has a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities (see §601): and

  4. The condition(s) has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 1 year, or is expected to result in death.

Note: The SSI definition of disability for children is different from the definition of disability for adults under SSI and Social Security disability (see §507). A child's condition(s) must result in “marked and severe functional limitations,” which is a level of severity that meets, medically equals, or functionally equals the listings. See Social Security regulations sections 416.924 through 416.926a for the rules about children's disability in the SSI program.

Last Revised: Apr. 19, 2010