One of the biggest fears for expectant parents is that their baby will be born with some sort of medical problem. Sometimes children have a low birth weight or fail to grow the way they are supposed to. When this happens, parents should consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits for their child.
If your child is affected by low birth weight, it may be in your best interest to contact the skilled Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm to assist you. Our experienced legal professionals can answer your questions and assist you throughout the application process.
How Are These Conditions Evaluated?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates low birth weight for newborns and infants from the point of birth to the age of one as well as the failure to thrive in both children from the point of birth to the age of three.
The SSA awards benefits for low birth weight based on the weight at different gestational ages. For example, a child that weighs 2,000 grams or less at a gestational age of 37-40 weeks has a low birth weight, according to SSA criteria. (Gestational age is the number of weeks from conception.) An infant who weighs 1,250 grams or less at a gestational age of 32 weeks also has a low birth weight.
The SSA will award benefits for failure to thrive (FTT) if the applicant provides documentation of growth failure and developmental delay from acceptable medical sources. The SSA has a table to determine if a child's growth is below what it should be. There is one table for children between birth and age two and another for children between two and three years of age.
FTT can also refer to developmental delays. In these cases, the SSA will use a standardized developmental assessment to determine the severity of developmental delays. You must also have statements or records from an acceptable medical source who establishes that there is a developmental delay.
If a standardized developmental assessment was not done, the SSA requires narrative developmental reports from the child's medical sources. The report needs to include the following:
- Developmental history of the child
- Findings from examinations of the child
- Overall assessment of the child's development (more than one or two isolated skills)
Conditions that Do Not Meet Criteria
Certain conditions that an infant has or acquires may not meet the criteria for disability benefits even if the child is between 1200 grams and 2000 grams. These health concerns include disorders such as:
- Retinopathy of prematurity
- Chronic lung disease during infancy
- Necrotizing enterocolitis
- Periventricular leukomalacia
These conditions are evaluated under the affected body systems. The SSA evaluates whether the child's illness is medically equal or functionally equal to the criteria.
What Causes Low Birth Weight and What are the Effects?
The normal newborn baby with a healthy weight is born weighing around seven pounds. Any new baby below this weight is at risk for health problems.
Low birth weight usually refers to a child born weighing under five and a half pounds, no matter how long he or she was in the womb. Common causes of low birth weight include:
- Premature childbirth with a gestation of no more than 37 weeks
- Poor nutritional intake by the mother
- Birthing multiple children simultaneously, such as twins
- Reduced growth rate while in the womb
- Inhaling smoke, drinking alcohol and other environmental factors when the mother is pregnant
The effects of low birth weight of a newborn are often long-term. These complications can include mental disorders, growth impairments, problems with the senses and damage to the cardiovascular system. Low birth weight is also a common cause of infant mortality.
Contact a Knowledgeable Lawyer for Assistance
If your child had a low birth weight and you would like to pursue a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, the experienced attorneys at Dayes Law Firm can help. Our team has helped people recover disability benefits for a variety of medical conditions.
We offer you a free consultation, so we can determine if your application should be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. We do not get paid unless we are successful in recovering the benefits you deserve.