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Issue Alert - New SSRs for Childhood SSI

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Mar 25, 2009

Program Area:


Issue Summary:

SSA has issued a series of eight Social Security Rulings (SSRs) that provide policy interpretations and consolidate policy information regarding the determination of SSI childhood disability.

Persons Affected:

Applicants for children's SSI benefits

For More Information:

Lisa Ruby
Michigan Poverty Law Program
611 Church, Suite 4A
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 998-6100 ext.33


To be eligible for children's SSI benefits, a child under age 18 must either (1)meet or medically equal a listing or (2) functionally equal a listing. To functionally equal a listing, the child must have "marked" impairments in two domains of functioning or an "extreme" limitation in one domain.

What's Happening?

The SSA has published a list of eight SSRs that will provide guidance in assessing a child's disability claim. Each SSR addresses a different functional domain, as well as the "whole child" approach. The functional domains are:

acquiring and using information;
attending and completing tasks;
interacting and relating with others;
moving about and manipulating objects;
caring for yourself and health; and
physical well-being.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should familiarize themselves with these new SSRs and use them to advocate on behalf of their clients. They are available on the federal register website, and will be on Social Security's website,

The cites for the SSRs are:

SSR 09-1p, The "Whole Child" Approach, 74 Fed.Reg.7527(Feb. 17, 2009)
SSR 09-2p, Documenting a Child's Impairment-Related Limitations, 74 Fed.Reg.7525(Feb. 18, 2009)
SSR 09-3p, The Functional Equivalence Domain of "Acquiring and Using Information", 74 Fed.Reg.7511(Feb. 17, 2009)
SSR 09-4p, The Functional Equivalence Domain of Attending and Completing Tasks", 74 Fed.Reg.7530(Feb. 18, 2009)
SSR 09-5p, The Functional Equivalence Domain of "Interacting and Relating with Others", 74 Fed.Reg.7527(Feb. 17, 2009)
SSR 09-6p, The Functional Equivalence Domain of "Moving About and Manipulating Objects", 74 Fed.Reg.7518(Feb. 17, 2009)
SSR 09-7p, The Functional Equivalence Domain of "Caring for Yourself", 74 Fed.Reg.7521(Feb. 17, 2009)
SSR 09-8p, The Functional Equivalence Domain of "Health and Physical Well-Being", 74 Fed.Reg.7524(Feb. 17, 2009)

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee.

You can locate various sources of legal and related services, including the free legal aid office that serves your county, at

You can also look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.