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Childhood SSI Claims and Attending and Completing Tasks

     Parents applying for childhood SSI benefits for their child are often confused by how the Social Security Administration evaluates and decides the claim. If a child does not meet a "Listing", 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 to see whether there is extreme or marked limitations.

     This entry dealing with Attending and Completing Tasks is the second in a six part series.  In this domain, the SSA considers how well the child is able to focus and maintain attention, and how well the child begins, carries through, and finishes activities.  Attention involves regulating your levels of alertness and initiating and maintaining concentration. It involves the ability to filter out distractions and to remain focused on an activity or task at a consistent level of performance. 

     Newborns and infants should show sensitivity to his environment by responding to various stimuli and soon thereafter should fix his gaze upon a human face. The child should stop activity when he hears voices or sounds. 

     Older infants and toddlers should be able to attend to things that interest her and have adequate attention to complete some tasks by herself.

     Preschool children should be able to pay attention when spoken to directly, sustain attention in play and learning activities, and concentrate on activities like putting puzzles together or completing art projects.

     School-age children (age 6 to attainment of age 12) should be to focus attention in a variety of situations in order to follow directions, remember and organize school materials, and complete classroom and homework assignments.

     Adolescents (age 12 to attainment of age 18) you should be able to pay attention to increasingly longer presentations and discussions, maintain your concentration while reading textbooks, and independently plan and complete long-range academic projects.

     Examples of limited functioning in Attending and Completing Tasks are:

  • Easily startled, distracted, or overreactive to sounds, sights, movements, or touch.
  • Slow to focus on, or fail to complete activities of interest.
  • Repeatedly become sidetracked from activities or frequently interrupt others.
  • Easily frustrated and give up on tasks, including ones capable of completing.
  • Require extra supervision to keep engaged in an activity.

     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.

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