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Can my child get SSDI benefits for low birth weight?

Recently on our disability legal forum a user asked, “I had a child who was born 2 months premature. I am wondering whether the federal government offers any type of disability benefits for a disabled child. I know my mother received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I am wondering if SSDI benefits are available for my son?” social-security-disability-benefits

What are Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to claimants who are disabled and who cannot work for 12 continuous months. SSDI benefits are wage replacement benefits, which means they are specifically awarded to claimants who have worked and paid taxes to earn work credits and who are considered insured for benefits. Now, you asked about your premature son. Your son would generally not qualify for SSDI benefits because he has not worked, he has not paid taxes, and he is not insured for SSDI benefits. With that said, however, there is one way for your premature son to qualify for what is called a SSDI child’s benefit. To qualify for this benefit your child must become disabled prior to the age of 22, one of his or her parents must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or one of his parents must have died and have worked enough to qualify for Social Security. Additionally, assuming your son met the conditions outlined above, he would be eligible to receive his Social Security Disability child’s benefits for as long as he remained disabled and would not have to have any work credits to qualify for this benefit.

Supplemental Security Income for children

What’s more likely, however, is that your son might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To qualify for SSI benefits your son must meet the disability requirements outlined for SSI benefits and you and your spouse must meet the income and resource limitations. If you or your spouse make too much money or you own too many possessions or resources, your child will be denied SSI benefits regardless of the severity of their health condition. If you have questions about the resource and income requirements you can contact the SSA administration or review the requirements on their website www.ssa.gov. What if my son does not qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits? Unfortunately, if your son does not qualify for SSI or SSDI child’s benefits you will be responsible for providing the necessary medical care for your child. This is a tough position for many families who find themselves not making enough money to thrive but making too much to qualify for any governmental subsidies. Bottom line: SSDI benefits were created as a wage replacement program for disabled workers. It has been expanded to provide benefits to other qualifying family members. Supplemental Security Income was created as a monthly wage assistance program to the neediest individuals in our society who were unable to work. There’s currently a gap of appropriate care for those families in the middle. Recent blog: Presumptive disability and SSI benefits