woman in a wheelchair

Failure to Thrive and Social Security Disability Benefits

Disability can impact not only the individual who suffers from it, but his or her family and loved ones as well. While it may not seem as though a child with disabilities requires financial assistance when he or she has two able-bodied parents, this is not necessarily true. Often times the expenses that come from the child’s disability can be quite overwhelming. That’s where Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can come into play. 

Can You Qualify from Birth?

Some people are born disabled. That’s why the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not implement any type of minimum age requirement in order for someone to qualify for benefits. Children with disabilities may qualify to receive benefits until they reach the age of 18. Once they have reached the age of adulthood, their case will be re-evaluated in order to determine if they are still entitled to the same assistance. 

SSD Benefits and Failure to Thrive

Sometimes disability may not be immediately evident upon birth. Sometimes it may take some time before it becomes noticeable that a baby is “failing to thrive.” In order for a baby or child to meet the requirements for benefits due to failure to thrive, the SSA has listed them in its Blue Book (section 100.05).

The SSA’s requirements for failure to thrive include three different weight-for-length measurements during the child’s first two years of life or three separate BMI measurements from two to three years of age, which would put them in the bottom-third for their age. The child must also have a developmental delay that places them two standard deviations below the mean of their age group.

The Bottom-Third Percentile in Weight for Length

In other words, failure to thrive requires that the baby, from birth to age two, fails to end up in the bottom-third percentile in weight for length at least three times within 12 consecutive months with each failure being a minimum of 60 days apart.  Alternately, a child between two and three can be considered the same if he or she has similar failures. 

Another requirement is that the child must have one of the following:

  • Two documented developmental delays (at least 120 days apart); or
  • One documented developmental delay that consistently indicates development at below two-thirds of their age-appropriate level. 

The PA SSD Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

When your child is struggling with failure to thrive, it can place an enormous financial and emotional burden on you. As a result you may not know what to do. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that a child’s disability can have on your ability to pay your bills and ultimately to make ends meet. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!