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Bill Would Let Disabled Military Children Receive SSD, Survivor Benefits

A Virginia Congressman, Jim Moran, has introduced a bill that would allow severely disabled military children to receive survivor benefits without losing Social Security Disability (SSD). If passed, the bill would help families with special needs children pay the immense health care costs they face - some families pay more than $100,000 per year.

Through the Disabled Military Child Protection Act of 2012, military retirees would be able to transfer benefits from a Survivor Benefit Plan to a special needs trust for their children. As the law currently stands, military service members are not able to establish a special needs trust for their disabled children, even though civilian retirees have that option.

Instead, a retiree can put up to 55 percent of his or her monthly pay into a Survivor Benefit Plan. Unfortunately, the funds in these plans are considered income and can disqualify a special needs child from both SSD and Medicaid.

Jim Moran is the father of a child with special needs. He stated, "I know how important it is for parents to be able to provide [special needs children] the best possible care."

Children on Social Security Disability

A child with a disability can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments if he or she meets income eligibility limits (he or she must not be earning more than $1,010 a month in 2012). He or she must also have a physical or mental condition that "results in marked and severe functional limitations" and the disability must last, or be expected to last, at least a year or be terminal.

An adult who has been disabled since childhood (before turning 22 years old) can receive Social Security Disability benefits if his or her parent receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or if his or her parent passed away after working a certain amount of time in a job that qualifies for Social Security. The adult applying for SSDI disabled adult "child benefits" must meet the SSA's definition of disability.

Source: Insurance News Net, "Moran Introduces Bill to Protect Disabled Military Children," Apr. 3, 2012.

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