Low birth weight infants or premature infants do not automatically qualify for disability benefits. Instead, a parent will have to prove to the Social Security Administration that their child suffered chronic health or developmental issues resulting from a consequential birth. The SSA defines low birth weight infants as weighing under five and half pounds at birth. Babies born with a gestational age of under 36 weeks are considered premature.
Both prematurity and low birth weight may cause long-term medical or developmental issues. In some cases, these problems can remain undetected until the child starts crawling, sitting up or vocalizing. If a child is diagnosed with a serious physical or cognitive problem months or years after a premature or low weight birth, that child may be eligible for SSI disability benefits.
How Do Children Qualify for Premature Infants SSI Benefits?
In addition to proving that a child’s impairment or impairments severely limit physical and/or cognitive functioning, parents need documentation showing the disability is expected to continue for at least one year or eventually cause death of the child. Mental, emotional and developmental impairments specific to children are listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of Medical Conditions. For premature and low birth weight infants, these impairments apply only to children between zero and three years old. Examples of conditions eligible for this specific form of SSI disability benefits include but are not limited to:
- Vision and/or hearing loss
- Reduced lung functioning
- Growth impairment
- Congenital heart disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Mental disorders, ADHD, intellectual disabilities
What is Presumptive Disability?
Some impairments are automatically disabling, such as cerebral palsy, complete deafness and complete blindness. The SSA gives a “presumption of disability” to severe or incurable medical conditions. This means they will start sending monthly SSI disability benefits as soon as a parent or guardian applies for benefits. However, these benefits are only meant to last six months, or until the SSA has made a final decision on the child’s application.
Presumptive disability benefits are also available for low birth weight infants under six months of age. The SSA has guidelines regarding weight allowances for premature or low birth weight babies.
To learn if you qualify for premature infants SSI benefits or presumptive disability, call the Law Office of Daniel Berger today to schedule a consultation appointment.