If your child has been seriously disabled by a birth injury, they are going to need long-term medical assistance, rehabilitative therapy, and additional support. Disabled kids need a lot of expensive services and devices that are not always covered by insurance. This often requires a lot of money to help your child.
The challenge is greater than people understand. Many children require 24-hour trained supervision. Children with serious birth injuries require very different care than a child without disabilities. Often even the parents need special training to care for their own child. So you just can't hire a babysitter or even ask the child's grandparents to take over for a break. When the child's parents are working or otherwise unable to directly care for the child, trained nurses are needed.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways of obtaining financial support and assistance for families with birth injury children.Government Sponsored Assistance
There are quite a few assistance programs to help disabled children that are sponsored and/or directly administered by the federal government. The 2 primary government programs are SSI and SNAP.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): If you have a disabled child and you don't make too much money you can apply for SSI. If you qualify for SSI you can get up to $730 per month. To receive this benefit you need to satisfy 2 basic requirements. First, your child has to meet the SSI disability requirements. Any sort of major developmental disability resulting from a birth injury (e.g., cerebral palsy) will easily satisfy this requirement. Second, your family has to meet the income eligibility requirements. If you make too much money, you won't be eligible for SSI benefits even if your child is severely disabled.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP is a government subsidized program that helps pay for food. Families who are enrolled in the SNAP program receive a SNAP account card that looks and functions just like a credit card. When checking out at the grocery store, you just swipe SNAP card and it will pay for all of your essential items that are covered by SNAP. Non-essential or non-food items like cosmetics are not covered by SNAP. SNAP assistance is available for both low-income families and also to families with disabled children (subject to some income limitation). So if your child has a disability resulting from a birth injury you could potentially qualify for SNAP and get most of your grocery bill paid for.
In addition to programs like SSI and SNAP, children with disabilities may also be eligible for government-subsidized health care coverage in the form of Medicaid. Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and federal governments. The Medicaid program is administered at the state level so benefits and eligibility rules vary in each state. Medicaid provides qualifying disabled children with healthcare coverage. The program also covers things such as medical equipment, mobility aids, and in-home support and services.Legal Settlements
The reality is that the best way to be able to afford the best care for your child is to get birth injury settlement or verdict through the legal system.
The government-sponsored programs described above have significant limitations. First, families that make too much money may not even be eligible for these programs (as insane as that may be). Second, the benefits provided by these programs are very limited.
Fortunately, the civil legal system provides another source of financial support for some children disabled by birth injuries. When your child's birth injury is the direct result of medical negligence, the responsible health care providers can be obligated to provide financial assistance. You will not automatically get this assistance. You have to "apply" for this type of financial support the same way you do for government benefits. The application for private financial assistance comes in the form of a claim or lawsuit for medical malpractice. There is a lot of money at stake and the hospitals fight these cases… whether they think they are right or wrong. The civil justice system is set up to process to sort these out claims and doctors and hospitals have medical malpractice insurance to pay for them.
When birth injury claims are successful, the responsible parties and their insurance carriers will be required to pay for most or all of the reasonable care your disabled child will need during their lifetime. This includes medical expenses for treatments, surgeries, therapy. It also includes the cost of necessary support services or mobility devices such as electric wheelchairs.
Private settlements will also include "economic damages" to cover lost income resulting from your child's disability. A Life Care Plan is basically a combination of all of these estimated lifetime costs and losses associated with a child's disability. Many birth injury malpractice claims or lawsuits are resolved with a financial settlement that is based on a Life Care Plan for the disabled child. A financial settlement based on a Life Care Plan should cover all future expenses associated with the care of your disabled child, including 24-hour attendant car if needed. Depending on the severity of your child's birth injury and resulting disability, his or her Life Care Plan can easily involve payments in excess of $25 million.Contact Miller & Zois About Financial Settlements for Birth Injuries
If your child has been disabled by a birth injury you may be able to get a financial settlement based on a Life Care Plan for your child. The first step in this process is consulting with an experienced birth injury law firm like Miller & Zois. Our birth injury lawyers can investigate your birth injury case and help evaluate whether you have a valid claim. Call us today 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.