When we think of the definition of low birth weight, premature babies come to mind. However, SSI does not specify whether a child is considered premature or not in order to qualify. Instead, SSI determines the qualifications of the child based on their birth weight.
SSI defines low birth weight as under 1,200 grams or under2,00 grams and small for gestational age. Below is the exact wording from the SSI web page:
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.
Listed below is the gestational age criteria that your child must fall under in order to be considered for SSI benefits:
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)
How to Apply For SSI for your Child
Click on the link that states "Apply for Disability Benefits for your child" on the SSI website. The link will take you to a page where you can fill out a disability report for your child online. The disability report asks information about your child such as medical history, why he or she is considered disable, date of birth, doctor names and social security. It is important to have the social security for your child, if not you will not be able to proceed with the application. The disability report takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete but SSI has made it easy for you to save it and come back to it later. Once you sign out of the report, you will be given a reference number. It is imperative that you write it down because SSI does not save it and will ask for it when you log back in.
Once the disability report is completed, you must contact Social Security to start the application. The application is not available online. Then Social Security will determine your child's eligibility. This might take at least 2 to 3 months.
More information is provided on the Social Security website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/child.htm