SSI for Premies

photoI now know more about Social Security Insurance (SSI) benefits for premature babies, than I ever wanted to know. After 10 days in the hospital, trying NOT to have a baby, my daughter began receiving visits from a Social Worker, informing her of all the services that were available to her, should she deliver her baby, which at that point would be 16 weeks early. My daughter only half listened because she had no intention of delivering for at least a month, and preferably not for another 2 or 3 months.

He arrived (26 weeks gestation) weighing 1# 13 oz and is amazing everyone as he is weaned from oxygen, glucose, insulin, ultraviolet light and more. Daily visits to the hospital to deliver the milk she has pumped and to spend time, skin to skin, with her little son will continue till he goes home on what should have been his due date, Jan. 2, assuming he reaches 4#, along with several other benchmarks.

The Hospital Social Worker paid her another visit…this time with paper work to apply for SSI benefits for her son. He will receive $30 a month which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you think about the bills that will rack up over the next three months in a NICU, $30 is $30. A child born weighing under two pounds, ten ounces, is automatically entitled to SSI benefits as well as Medicaid coverage. Once dismissed from the hospital, Medicaid and Social Security will end. Should a child be disabled (blind, deaf, etc. for example) the benefits can again be applied for.

The Medicaid Insurance will be applied to bills that are not covered by his parent’s health insurance. Should both parents have health insurance through their employers, the policy that will be considered as primary would be decided by whose birthday comes first in the year.

In my daughter’s case, the hospital’s social worker informed my daughter about the benefits, brought the paperwork to her and assisted her with the applications. Not all hospitals provide that service. In that case, it would be the parent’s responsibility to visit the local Social Security office or go online to fill out the paperwork.

It is important to contact the Social Security Administration immediately after your child is discharged. You will be responsible to repay any benefits received after the discharge and it is not the hospital’s job to notifying the Social Security Administration.

For more information on applying for Social Security benefits for your preemie, the Social Security Administration has a great website with lots of information and tools as well as an office locator.  ~Brenda

Brenda Schmitt

Brenda Schmitt

A Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Family Finance Field Specialist helping North Central Iowans make the most of their money.

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