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MY CHILD HAS DOWN SYNDROME: DOES HE QUALIFY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?

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March is Trisomy Awareness month and is dedicated to promoting awareness of this condition. Trisomy 21, known as Down syndrome, is a genetic disorder that is characterized by the presence of three chromosomes, instead of the normal pair of chromosomes. Down syndrome is the most commonly known trisomy disorder. The other two disorders are Patau Syndrome or Trisomy 13, and Edwards syndrome or Trisomy 18.

Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic birth defects. In the United States, it is believed to affect as many as one in 800 people. The condition is characterized by unique facial characteristics, impairment in intellectual and mental functioning, and other birth defects.  Also, as many as 50% of all babies born with Down syndrome are diagnosed with a heart defect. Children born with Trisomy 21 can also be at risk for intestinal malformation which may necessitate surgeries. They may also be at risk for hearing trouble, as well as several types of vision problems, including near or far-sightedness and cataracts.

Qualifying for disability benefits for a child diagnosed with Down syndrome will depend on the type of Down syndrome that the child suffers from. The most common form is called non-Mosaic Down syndrome, a condition in which the child has an extra chromosome 21 in every cell. The other type is Mosaic Down syndrome in which some cells have the Trisomy 21 chromosome, and some cells have a regular number of chromosomes.

If your child has non-mosaic Down syndrome or Trisomy 21, he is automatically eligible for disability benefits. In the case of the more rare mosaic Down syndrome, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will require the results of additional analysis and tests, and also evidence to prove that the child is disabled enough to require benefits.

If your child suffers from Down syndrome, talk to Lisa Smith Siegel, Attorney at Law, about filing a disability claim.