Babies who are born before 37 weeks of gestation are considered premature, and many suffer from side effects. One of the most common markers of a premature delivery is low birth weight and a failure to thrive. Low birth weight can result in many short and long-term problems as healthy development is also typically affected.

Though babies and children cannot work and contribute to family income, the Social Security Administration recognizes that families with a premature baby may go through significant financial strain as a result. Because of this fact, many children born with a low birth weight are eligible for Social Security disability benefits in Denver.

The Short-Term Effects of a Premature Birth

Children who were born prematurely can exhibit a wide range of serious health effects that need to be treated in a hospital environment. Not only is this stressful for the parents, it can also result in significant medical expenses, time off work, and other kinds of pressure. Many short-term symptoms can also cause long-term conditions and disabilities. Common health effects caused by premature birth include:

  • Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Inadequate organ oxygenation
  • Infections, including the risk of sepsis
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Hydrocephalus (liquid accumulation in the brain)
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Difficulty maintaining body temperature
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

The Long-Term Effects of a Premature Birth

While some children born prematurely will go on to thrive, many will develop chronic medical conditions as a result. Sometimes, these conditions do not develop until later in childhood or even adulthood. The health effects can include cognitive delays, psychological issues, or physical disabilities. Examples of long-term health effects caused by premature birth can include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Hearing, dental, or vision problems
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Impaired cognitive or physical abilities
  • Behavioral or psychological problems
  • Impaired growth
  • Cerebral palsy

Qualifying for Benefits

Low Birth Weight

The Social Security Administration considers infants’ weights directly as a qualifying factor for benefits from birth to the age of 1. Qualifying infants will be born weighing less than 1200 grams, or as according to this chart:

Gestational age (weeks) Birth weight
37-40 2000 grams or less
36 1875 grams or less
35 1700 grams or less
34 1500 grams or less
33 1325 grams or less
32 1250 grams or less

Failure to Thrive

Qualifications for this listing, which spans from birth to the age of 3, include diligent and complex measuring against weight and length (height) standards. Measurements have to be taken three times within a consecutive 12-month period, at least 60 days apart, and fall below the third percentile on the BMI-for-age table outlined in the Blue Book. Additionally, the child must exhibit signs of a developmental delay.

Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits in Denver

For those who are unfamiliar with disability law, the specifics necessary to qualify for this listing can be difficult to understand. Are you the parent of a prematurely born child? Our law firm can help you apply for Social Security disability benefits in Denver. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! We can review your case and provide you with advice on what steps to take next.