For many women having a baby is an exciting life-changing and live-changing event, but if you are working and relying on your income to support your family you may be concerned about what you will do when you have to take time off work to care for your child. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, If I am pregnant am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?
Unfortunately, pregnancy is not considered a long-term disabling health condition and is not covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). To qualify for SSDI benefits you must have a disabling health condition which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months and does not allow you to work at a substantial, gainful level.
Pregnancy what are my options?
Some states including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island provide certain short-term, state mandated disability programs. Under these programs pregnancy is generally covered.
State programs vary, but you may be able to file a claim and receive a percentage of your wage while you are unable to work. Not all workers will qualify for benefits, however, only those who have contributed to these programs and have had the appropriate funds subtracted from their paycheck. Another option if state sponsored programs are not available is to talk to your employer about any short-term disability insurance provided to workers.
Family Medical Leave Act and Pregnancy
Many employers also offer FMLA or family medical leave benefits which allows for certain employees to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for the pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting of their child. Although you will not be receiving a wage during this time period, family medical leave does allow for protected time off to care for your child while maintaining your right to return to your job and receive health benefits.
Talk to the Human Resources Department for more information about what may be available through your employer.
What if my child is disabled?
Although the Social Security Administration does not consider pregnancy a disabling health condition and does not offer disability benefits for pregnancy, if your child is born with a disabling health condition they may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income or SSI.
Children are considered disabled if they are not working and earning over $1,040 per month, if they have a marked and severe" functional limitations which severely interferes with their ability to function at the level of other children of the same age, and their condition is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.
Not only must the child be considered disabled, however, they must also have limited income and resources. The SSA will consider not only the childs income and resources but also those of the parent or family member living with and supporting the child.
For example, if you are caring for a disabled infant the child may be disabled, but if your income and resource level is too high the child would not qualify to receive SSI benefits because the SSA would deem part of your income to them.
Recent Articles:Which conditions allow me to receive SSDI or SSI benefits?