Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has a designation for newborns who have low birth weight and another one for children who are failing to thrive. Parents who are fighting for these benefits might be confronted with a host of information that is very confusing. Oftentimes, this information comes when the parent is still coping with a premature birth and other medical conditions for their child.
For the purpose of SSI benefits, low birth weight is used as a qualifying factor for babies from birth to their first birthday. Failure to thrive has a longer window. Babies and toddlers from birth to 3 years old can qualify for SSI based on this criterion.
In order to prove low birth weight, the baby's birth certificate or medical record is necessary. The birth certificate must be a certified copy or the original, and it must contain the birth weight of the baby. If the medical record is used, it must be signed by a physician. The exact weight that constitutes a low birth weight is based on the baby's gestational age.
A baby born earlier than 32 weeks gestation is considered low birth weight if they weigh less than 1200 grams at birth. The weight increases for each week of gestation. A full-term infant at 37 to 40 weeks gestation is low birth weight if they weigh 2000 grams or less.
For failure to thrive, the system to determine eligibility is much more complex. It involves several different methods. One is that the child has a developmental delay and has a body mass index that is below a specific amount for their age. Typically, multiple results of the child's height and weight are needed to prove this.
Parents who have children who qualify for benefits based on these criteria will have to deal with reevaluations and possibly appeals of decisions that are made in the SSI case. This can be very complicated, so having someone on your side who understands the laws might be beneficial.