Fighting For SSI For Your Sick Child
Most women physically experience euphoria after the birth of a baby. Unfortunately, sometimes this euphoria is short-lived because the pregnancy resulted in an ill baby, due to prematurity or other health problems.
Possible Health Problems
Some of the more common health problems that newborns experience are jaundice and breathing problems. More serious complications include exposed spinal structures (spina bifida), too much fluid inside or around the brain (hydrocephalus), exposed bowel.
Premature babies, those who are born before 37 weeks gestation, may have some of these issues on top of other complications, such as brain bleeds, seizures, undeveloped lungs, fluid in the lungs, apnea, anemia, and infections.
When your child has been born with a disability or is born prematurely, they may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program was designed to help provide financial stability for individuals in this country who are unable to care for themselves due to their disability.
Born Too Soon
SSI also takes into account babies who were born prematurely, before 37 weeks, or born at a very low birth weight. But delivery date and weight are not the only factors taken into account for determining if the baby qualifies for disability, because premature babies are known to have significant health issues, developmental problems being some of them.
The only exceptions made so that the baby receives benefits right away are if the baby is born with the following conditions:
• Total Blindness or Deafness
• Down Syndrome
• Cerebral Palsy
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Birth weight that is below 2 pounds 10 ounces.
The Approval Process
This program requires the parents or guardians of an ill baby to apply for benefits. The approval process is not automatic and can take anywhere from six months to a year to approve.
Approval by the Department for Disability Determinations is based on the child’s medical history. This can be an intimidating process. You will work with many different people at the Social Security Office and each will require specific documentation to prove the child’s condition. In many cases, it will be a request for duplicate files and forms. You will need infinite patience. You will also need to provide contact information for doctors, caregivers, family members and friends who can all verify the condition of your baby.
The process will also be very time consuming, and in many cases your application will be denied. You will have the right to appeal this decision, but it will extend the process for another six months to a year.
Parents must also realize that once benefits are approved, it is only good for one year and must be re-determined following that time period. The health problems that the baby has must also be a long-term or ongoing condition.
Help With Approval
To ensure that your baby receives all of the benefits that they are entitled to, it is recommended that parents or guardians seek the assistance of a long term disability lawyer. You can enlist their services at any time in the process, even if you initially received a denial when you applied on your own.
A SSD (Social Security Disability) lawyer has the experience and knowledge on how this system works and will be able to guide you through the process of navigating the red tape involved. They will know how to present your baby’s case so that it is effective in gaining him benefits.
They know exactly what the Social Security Administration is looking for in medical documentation, and they will make sure that you have the correct information to submit in a timely manner that will expedite the approval.
In addition, the attorney can also make sure that your child receives all of the help that they are entitled to under disability programs. This may include the supplemental SSI, enrollment in the appropriate health care plan, respite care, and even vouchers for groceries. In most cases, children are automatically enrolled into Medicaid when they qualify for SSD; however this varies from state to state.
Caring for a child with a disability is a lifelong commitment. It is something that a parent or guardian does with love and compassion. It is a good thing that financial aid is available for these children and their families so that parents can help these children to the best of their abilities. Many times, other health problems arise which require ongoing treatment for the child, that the family is financially unable to take care of.
A denial for benefits is common, but it does not have to be permanent. Fight for the benefits that your child deserves by using a qualified SSD attorney.
Debbie Nguyen’s firstborn was a preemie, born with a long list of health complications. He was able to receive SSI because he was born at 27 weeks and weighed 2 pounds, 7 ounces. A long term disability lawyer helped ensure that he got benefits up until the age of 2, even though many of his seizures ceased at 18 months.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crincon/956656601/