If your infant has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury, there is a chance that you’ll need to pay for treatment, especially since not all brachial plexus injuries clear up on their own. From surgery, medication, to physical therapy, the treatment options, which sometimes can last a lifetime, are costly. Fortunately, there a few financial resources that you may be able to assist you.
Social Security Benefits
In some instances, brachial plexus injuries results in lifelong disabilities. For instance, some infants may need an amputation while others may be left with full paralysis on the affected area of the body. In cases such as these, your baby may qualify for Social Security benefits.
Known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the Social Security Administration pays monthly payments to qualifying children with disabilities. Children ages 18 and under qualify for SSI as long as certain guidelines are met, which generally include the resources and income of other family members living in the same home as the minor.
In addition, the disability must be marked with severe functional limitations, whether physical, mental, or both. The disability or disabilities must be expected to last at least 12 months or more, or must be expected to result in death.
For example, babies who experience a mild brachial plexus injury that heals on its own or with the help of physical treatment within a few months typically will not qualify for SSI benefits. However, an infant with a serious brachial plexus injury that severely limits their daily activities, such as total loss of movement in the affected area, may qualify.
When minors turn 18, they can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The biggest differences between SSI and SSDI are:
- SSDI benefits pertain to adults whereas SSI benefits pertain to children under 18.
- Income and resources of family members are not factored into SSDI benefits
Although SSDI benefits are for people ages 18 and over, it’s known as the “child’s benefit” because a disability must have been present before 22 years of age in order for people to qualify. However, children who didn’t qualify for SSI benefits because of family income may qualify SSDI benefits even though they are adults.
For more information on benefits, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
United Brachial Plexus Network
Although the United Brachial Plexus Network (UBPN) does not offer direct financial assistance, they provide a vast amount of resources and information on how to get families in touch with support groups and various local organizations in their area that may be able to help. For example, UBPN works with airlines who offer free flights for needy children who need to go to a medical center for surgery.
In addition, UBPN offers camps for children, educational resources, awareness documents, and more.
Life Care Plans
Life care plans are legal documents, typically created by an attorney, after a detailed list of estimated costs and expenses associated with a disability or disorder are calculated. The calculations reflect a lifetime of estimated costs that it will take for the care of someone with a severe brachial plexus injury.
Medical experts, financial and economic experts, and other professionals are generally consulted in order to come up with the closest financial calculations as possible.