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Does failure to thrive qualify a baby for SSD?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Social Security Disability

Pregnancy can be a nerve-wracking experience for any parent in Missouri. Thus, it goes without saying that once the baby arrives, most feel a good deal of relief. Yet concern for the child’s health continues as they begin to develop. Clinicians assign a term to newborns and infants that fall behind in their initial growth: failure to thrive.

As those parents whose children go through this can attest to, failure to thrive exacts both an emotional and financial toll. Babies behind the growth curve for their respective ages often require costly treatment and care. For those parents seeking assistance to cover such costs, a source exists that they likely have yet to explore: Social Security disability benefits.

SSD for newborns

Most assume that SSD benefits are only available to adults whose disabling conditions prevent them from working. Yet the Social Security Administration recognizes that certain conditions suffered by children often place a heavy financial burden on their parents. Failure to thrive ranks among these.

According to the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, children under the age of one qualify for benefits if they have a birth weight of fewer than 1200 grams or fail to reach the following weight milestones at designated gestational ages (in weeks):

  • 32: 1250 grams
  • 33: 1325 grams
  • 34: 1500 grams
  • 35: 1700 grams
  • 36: 1875 grams
  • 37 and beyond: 2000 grams

Failure to thrive after the first year

For children between the ages of one and three, the SSA designates failure to thrive as accumulating three or more weight measurements (taken at least 60 days apart) that place the child in the bottom-third percentile for weight-for-length or body-mass-index for their respective age. They must also demonstrate developmental delays that place them more than two-thirds below the expected level for their age.