Social Security Benefits for Your Premature Baby

African American premature baby being examined
ERproductions Ltd / Getty Images

If your baby was born premature or had a low birth weight, you may be able to get social security benefits for your baby. This can really help with paying for your baby's hospital stay and other medical bills, or with child care for your premature baby.

The type of social security benefits that premature babies can receive is called supplemental security income, or SSI. The Social Security Administration provides benefits for any disabled child, including those who are born with low birth weight.

Any baby who weighed less than 2 lb 10 oz at birth qualifies for SSI. Babies who weighed more than that may still qualify if they were small for their gestational age.

Your infant’s birth weight must be documented by an original or certified copy of the birth certificate or by a medical record signed by a physician.

Applying for SSI Benefits for Your Premature Baby

If you think your baby may qualify for social security SSI benefits, you should apply as soon as you are able. Benefits will start right away for babies who weighed less than 2 lbs 10 oz at birth, but other low birth weight babies won't receive SSI payments until the application and review processes are complete.

To apply for SSI benefits, you can visit your local social security office or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. You will need your baby's social security number and birth certificate to apply for benefits.

How Much Is the SSI Benefit for Premature Babies?

While your baby is in the hospital, the maximum social security SSI benefit is $30 per month, no matter what your income is. After your baby comes home from the hospital, the amount of benefit you receive will depend on your family income. It will also vary by state as some states add to the payment. You can learn more by reading Social Security Benefits for Children with Disabilities.

Depending on the state, your child may also qualify for Medicaid, a health care program for people with low income. This may come automatically with SSI or you may have to apply for it from your state separately. It is also an option worthy of exploring if you don't qualify for SSI as your child might be eligible for Medicaid and other state and local programs. Check with your state Medicaid office and your state or county social services. You will also be given contacts to these when you apply for SSI.

How Long Do SSI Payments Continue?

Low birth weight babies are evaluated to age 1 unless their condition is not expected to improve by age 1, in which case it may be scheduled for a later date. The disability review is required by law.

If it's determined that your baby doesn't meet the requirements for disability, you won't have to pay back any payments received.

To continue to receive payments at the time of the review you will need medical documentation of continuing disability and that your child is receiving any necessary medical care. If your child has any ongoing disabilities after being born with low birth weight, benefits may continue.

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