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:
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.