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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Neonatal Brain Injuries & Disability Benefits

When infants are born with neonatal or birth brain injuries, there is a range of possible long-term effects and disabilities that can manifest as a result. No matter the effects, even with mild effects, increased medical bills, specialized equipment, specialist appointments, specialized child care can all take a toll on your finances. These expenses increase with any more severe complications that may arise from the injury.

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The government has put in place some programs that can help. Medicaid, Medicare, and certain state programs can help with medical expenses. Section 504 Plans and Individualized Education Plans will ensure that your child’s schools make accommodations to compensate for their specific educational needs. Also, the Social Security Administration provides a few avenues to receive disability benefits to help with various ad hoc expenses to help pay for your child’s special needs. Below is more information on the social security benefit programs your child could be eligible for.

Specifically, the Social Security Administration has two different benefit programs that could apply to help improve your family’s situation: Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. These programs provide monthly financial help to help cover expenses incurred by, among others, individuals (or their family members) who are disabled.

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is disability insurance provided by the government that is premised on your inability to work due to an injury. Now, your infant is not yet of working age, but there are ways in which infants with disabilities can qualify for SSDI. An infant can receive SSDI benefits if a family member also receives SSDI, under that family member’s work record. That family member must have worked for a certain amount of time and paid social security for the last five years. Additionally, SSDI benefits under a family member’s work record can be extended as the disabled child grows into adulthood, provided that the child has a disability that prevents them from working full time.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Many infants may not be eligible for SSDI benefits because they do not have a family member that is eligible. Regardless, SSI benefits may be available for your infant. Unlike SSDI, which depends on a person (or family members’) ability to work, SSI benefits are granted based on income. SSI benefits are monthly checks granted to eligible individuals who meet the need-based income requirements and are 65 or older, blind or have a disability.

Specific to an infant/child that has a neonatal or birth brain injury, as long as the parents meet the income requirements, it is likely that SSI help will be granted upon application. As noted above, the long-term disabilities and effects caused when an infant’s brain is injured before or at birth vary, but may often include disabilities or health problems that meet SSI requirements. These requirements are:

  • that the recipient be unable to work such that he/she does not earn any income/earns very little
  • the recipient does not own more than $2000 in assets, excluding one home and one vehicle
  • the recipient has a disability, defined as a physical or mental impairment that
  • severely limits functioning
  • can result in death
  • has continued or can be expected to continue for more than 12 months.

Again, depending on the specific effects of your child’s birth injuries, it is probable that those effects meet the disability requirements.

It is possible to qualify for both SSI and SSD help, and, hopefully, the additional financial support will help alleviate some of the stress that having a special needs child can create and allow you to focus on taking the best care of your families.