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Childhood SSI and Domain of Acquiring and Using Information

     Parents applying for childhood SSI benefits for their child are often confused by how the Social Security Administration evaluates and decides the claim.  This blog entry will be the first part of a series talking about "domains of functioning." A child has to have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals an impairment listed in the regulations.  If an impairment does not "meet" a listed impairment, disability may be established if the child's impairment is medically or functionally equivalent.

     One must assess the claimant's functioning in terms of six domains: (1) acquiring and using information; (2) attending and completing tasks; (3) interacting and relating with others; (4) moving about and manipulating objects; (5) caring for yourself; and (6) health and physical well-being.

     One must compare how appropriately, effectively and independently the claimant performs activities compared to the performance of other children of the same age who do not have impairments. The claimant's impairment or combination of impairments must result in "marked" limitations in two domains of functioning or an "extreme" limitation in one domain.

     Acquiring and using information. In this domain, SSA considers how well the child acquires or learns information, and how well the child uses the learned information.  Learning and thinking begin at birth.  Things considered in this domain are: comprehending oral instructions; understanding school and content vocabulary; reading and comprehending written material; comprehending and doing math problems; understanding and participating in class discussions; providing organized oral explanations and adequate descriptions; expressing ideas in written form; learning new material; recalling and applying previously learned material and applying problem-solving skills in class discussions. 

     Also considered are whether the child:

  • cannot demonstrate understanding of words about space, size, or time; e.g., in/under, big/little, morning/night
  • cannot rhyme words or the sounds in words has difficulty recalling important things you learned in school yesterday
  • has difficulty solving mathematics questions or computing arithmetic answers
  • talks only in short, simple sentences and have difficulty explaining what you mean.

     If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.

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Tony Farmer & John Dreiser

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