TEACHERS PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN CHILD’S DISABILITY CASES
A teacher’s opinion regarding whether your child is disabled can be extremely helpful in obtaining child’s disability benefits (CDB). Here are some common questions teachers raise regarding filling out these forms. Please see our RESOURCES page for the Teacher Questionnaire.
Q. WHY DO YOU NEED INFORMATION FROM ME?
A. To decide whether a child qualifies for disability benefits, we use information from both medical and non-medical sources. Medical sources include doctors and other health care professionals; non-medical sources include teachers and other people who spend time with the child. Information from sources who know the child well is important, because a child’s eligibility may be related to his or her level of functioning at school, at home, or in the community. The information you provide about his or her day-to-day functioning in school will help us to determine the effects of the child’s impairment(s) on his or her functioning. It will also help us to compare this child’s functioning to that of other children the same age who do not have impairments. We need this information from you even if the child has been (or was) in your class for only a short time. Your information is not the only information we will be considering when we decide if the child qualifies for disability benefits, but it is very important to us.
Q. IS THIS REQUEST REDUNDANT? THIS CHILD HAS ALREADY BEEN EVALUATED UNDER THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA).
A. The definition of disability in the Social Security Act is entirely separate from the definition of an “educational disability” in the IDEA. We must determine whether a child’s impairment(s) meets the SSA definition of disability, regardless of the child’s standing under the IDEA definition of educational disability.
Q. I DO NOT THINK THE CHILD IS DISABLED. SHOULD I COMPLETE THIS FORM?
A. Yes. Under Social Security law, we are responsible for deciding whether this child is disabled, and we will be making our decision based on all of the medical, school, and other information we receive. Your observations will help us to have a more complete picture of the child’s daily functioning and to make a fair and accurate decision. Your completion of this form does not constitute an endorsement of our decision.
Q. THE FORM IS LONG. DO I NEED TO ANSWER EVERY QUESTION?
A. Not always. The form uses checkboxes and multiple choice questions to help you provide specific information as easily and quickly as possible, so it is not as long as it may appear. It is also organized into sections that cover broad domains of functioning. For each section, there is an option to check one block indicating that you have not observed any limitations in that domain. When you have not observed any limitations in a domain, you may check that block and skip to the next section.