Premature and low birth weight babies may qualify for Social Security disability benefits

newborn baby

Under Social Security regulations low birth weight babies may qualify for Social Security disability (Supplemental Security Income – SSI) benefits.

It is important to note that Social Security does not specifically consider whether the child is premature or not. Social Security considers the birth weight of the child:

“Low birth weight” is defined as a birth weight under 1,200 grams (2 pounds 10 ounces) or under 2,000 grams and small for gestational age.

Social Security does provide SSI disability benefits to certain low birth weight infants, whether or not they are premature. A child who weighs less than 1200 grams (about 2 pounds, 10 ounces) at birth can qualify for SSI on the basis of low birth weight, if otherwise eligible. A child who weighs between 1200 and 2000 grams at birth (about 4 pounds 6 ounces) AND who is considered small for his or her gestational age may also qualify. For this second category of low birth weight infants, the following chart shows the gestational age at birth and corresponding birth weight that satisfies our “small for gestational age” criterion.

However, even newborns over 1,200 grams may qualify for SSI depending on their gestational age. Listed below are the gestational ages and birth weights that may qualify a child for Supplemental Security Income benefits (re-formated from the Social Security website for easier viewing):

37-40 weeks — Less than 2000 grams (4 pounds, 6 ounces)

36 weeks — 1875 grams or less (4 pounds, 2 ounces)

35 weeks — 1700 grams or less (3 pounds, 12 ounces)

34 weeks — 1500 grams or less (3 pounds, 5 ounces)

33 weeks — 1325 grams or less (2 pounds, 15 ounces)

If the newborn weight is equal to, or less than, the specified amount, based on the newborn’s gestational age, the newborn may be able to qualify for SSI benefits. For more information, check out the Social Security FAQ.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

  • birth records

    i look this site i think this is good!

  • Angelica

    When to the checks stop coming in?

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    That, I don’t know. Social Security is not clear on that. Presumably, the case gets re-reviewed to see if the child has moved beyond any deficits resulting from a low birth weight. However, that is just a guess. I do not have firm information in that area.

  • Comedra

    We have two adopted children that we have had since birth. Belinda is now 14 but was born at 26 weeks weighing 1lb 14 ou. Nathan is now 12 but was born at 32 weeks at 3lbs 5ou. Are they eligible for Social Security benefits now. They both have been diagnosed with ADD. Belinda has other problems such as mood disorder and behaviour problems. They are in special classes in school because they have learning difficulties.

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    A child has to be disabled during the time period in question. That is, from the protected filing date on. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/03/what-is-a-protected-filing-date-pfd/

    While a low birth weight might have qualified a child for disability benefits as an infant, if the child is no longer an infant, Social Security will focus its attention on whether the child is disabled at present.

    You mention several conditions. However, a diagnosis is only a first step. The condition(s) must be severe enough to meet Social Security’s requirements for disability: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2011/03/social-security-disability-benefits-for-children/

    Whether your kids would qualify for disability benefits depends on your meeting the initial non-medical requirements (discussed in the article linked above) and the severity of their conditions and how well they are documented.

    Working with a lawyer can help you get an idea of your kids chances in a disability case. However, it is still only a guess. They only way to find out, is to apply.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V7PV2WBODFI7SNNCAYH55K7MC4 Renee

    I had a child on 02/07/2001; 2 pounds even. She was 26 months gestatation. She is now a healthy 10 year old. I was told recently that I should have gotten SSI. Sorry, I am pretty ignorant about such things. I am very low income althougth I tried to serve my country for 8 years in the U.S. Navy from 1988 to 1996 then went on to Airforce Reserves. I just got very upset when I was told that because my friends child was premature she gets about 600 dollars a month when she is more well off and he does not have diabililities. I had a condition called DES that was not really diagnosed until this second child….. First child 3 pound 3 ounzes born 29 weeks gestation born in 1993. PS in Ohio

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Renee. It’s easy to second guess and kick yourself for what you could have done and the benefits you could have applied for had you known about them. 

    Give yourself a pat on the back for helping get your child though those difficult first years and to where she is now.

  • Wendy

    My baby was born at 29 weeks, weighing 3lbs. 2oz.  She is now 10 months old and I am just now hearing about these benefits.  Could I still be eligable for the benefits?

  • Ex-employee of SSA

    For most infants the checks would stop soon after the child left the hospital.  The main benefit is that Medicaid will pay most of the hospital bill.  While in the hospital parental income and resources are not considered but would be upon release from the hospital.  SSI is need based (welfare) and payments would be re-evaluated when circumstances change. 

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Thanks for the heads up!

  • Erica

    I recently was denied for my Kids benefits i had triplets.born at 31 weeks weighting 2lb each not sure y they where denied i thought they automatic get approved. What are my next option should i tske this to court

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    You can always appeal the denial. The denial should list how to get an appeal started and let you know how much time you have. 

  • Farrel

    My wife will be 31 weeks in 4 days and the doctors say the baby stopped growing!!! They say he is almost 2lbs (1lb 13oz). The drs are talking about taking him. Would he be eligable?

  • http://www.Planet10Tech.com TomaszStasiuk

    Possibly. Depends on the child’s birth weight. Hospitals often have a benefits coordinator which may be able to help you with an application if that becomes necessary. If the hospital does not have someone, your local SSA office can walk you through the application process. 

  • Ariel_raul

    my baby was born at 34weeks and was 4lbs 2oz..so dose she 
    qualify for ssi??

  • km

    Hi my son was born at 35 weeks and was 3 pounds and 15 ounces but he is now 2 months old does he qualify for ssi and can he still get it since he older now

  • km

    Hi my son was born at 35 weeks and was 3 pounds and 15 ounces but he is now 2 months old does he qualify for ssi and can he still get it since he older now

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Since only a few months have passed, it may be possible. Give your local SSA office a call.

  • Jasmine

    Hey I gave brith too twin boys and they were born early would they qualify for ssi benefits. One twin weight 3 pounds and one weight 4 pounds

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Social Security considers the gestational age in addition to weight. The age – weight amounts are listed in the article.

    For specific information about whether your children would qualify, I encourage you to contact Social Security.

  • meka

    i had a child 16 months ago and he was born at 32 weeks he was 5lb 3oz do he qualify for ssi benefits

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    SSI benefits are paid back to the date of application. If you apply today, will consider if you are disabled today. If an application is started for child now, Social Security will consider whether the child is disabled now. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/09/you-cant-get-social-security-disabilty-benefits-if-you-do-not-apply/

  • farrel

    they took the baby at 36 weeks he weighed 3lbs 10ozs

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    Hi Farrel. At 36 weeks, a weight of 4 pounds, 2 ounces or less may qualify (as noted in the article above). However, I do not give opinions on eligibility or predict what Social Security will do. Only Social Security can tell you if your child is eligible for benefits. Good luck!

  • Ponqui1974

     I have a baby girl who was born 31wks 2days an 2lbs.15oz she is still in nicu does she qualify for ssi

  • Shanitadjones

    my daughter was 3lbs and 7oz at 32 weeks. She is now a year old, does she qualify?

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    SSI benefits are paid back to the date of application. If you apply today, will consider if you are disabled today. If an application is started for child now, Social Security will consider whether the child is disabled now. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/09/you-cant-get-social-security-disabilty-benefits-if-you-do-not-apply/

    The short version of this is “you can’t get benefits, if you don’t apply.” A child who might have qualified based on birth weight may or may not qualify now. The main issue will be whether the child is disabled now. Birth weight may be an issue, but it is likely to be in relation to the child’s development at the present. 

  • Essence_fp

    Hi. My name is Felisheia and I myself just found out that I could have qulified for SSI with my son that was born @ 2lbs 5 Ozs. Is it to late to to qualify? He will be 10 this year but he does have a defect with his vision that the nurse said would correct itself

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    SSI benefits are paid back to the date of application. If you apply today, will consider if you are disabled today. If an application is started for child now, Social Security will consider whether the child is disabled now. http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2009/09/you-cant-get-social-security-disabilty-benefits-if-you-do-not-apply/
    The short version of this is “you can’t get benefits, if you don’t apply.” A child who might have qualified based on birth weight **may or may not** qualify now. Birth weight may be an issue, but it is likely to be in relation to the child’s development at the present. 

  • marybaker2142010

    I’m guessing nothing would happen for me, even though I was born premature. Unfortunately, my parents are and were stupid and self centered and never thought of anyone but themselves, so they never checked to see if there was anything that could help me then. can or could I get help now even though I am WELL past 30yrs old???

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZYURIQXPA7223GE5WFD55LF54U Ramanda

    My daughter was born March 2012, induced at 39weeks…@6lbs 14oz, soon after her birth via emergency c-section…she was placed in NICU for 6 days with “white brain matter edema”…no reflexes…hypotonia..and periventricular leukomalacia…which is found in preemies.  The neonatalologist, and neonatal neurologist made it known to me that this type of “condition” is only found in premature newborns, and 60-75% infants have Cerebal Palsy.  Is periventricular leukomalacia evidence that can meet SSI requirements for a disability? I have Early Intervention, PT, Early Head Start, and follow ups with the specialists every 3 months for neurology, ophamology, and Audiology…any suggestion on how to get benefits for her, as I am on SSDI for multiple back/neck and leg surgeries from a MVA as a Pediactric Home Care Nurse Specialist…via drunk driver. (So I know the proper care and services to get for my daughter, just would appreciate knowledge of benefits that could help secure the best care and services without breaking the bank from my income. Also I am a single mom that in my state I get no child support bc her father’s other 5 kid’s court orders are honored first. Please reply to me via email if possible at wiccanprincess37@yahoo.com. Thank You for any information that may come my way.

  • http://www.stasiukfirm.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    If your daughter’s baby qualifies for Social Security, contact your local Social Security office to get an application started. Social Security will go over the information they will need and what else you can do at this time. Good luck!

  • Brandy Lucio

    my daughter is almost 9 months old, I have been getting a SSI check since she was born, she has no health issues, how long will we get this check for