Financial Assistance and Benefits if a Child has been Injured at Birth
Childbirth injuries can be emotionally and financially catastrophic. A child injured at birth may have cerebral palsy, facial paralysis, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), seizures, or brachial plexus injuries that cause lifelong pain and struggle. Disorders resulting from birth injuries can make movement, balance, and posture difficult for growing children. They can affect a child’s hearing, vision, or nourishment and leave a child with cognitive and physical delays from brain damage.
Lifelong or long-term care for children is expensive, especially for families with few resources. Disabled children may need a team of doctors, specialists, and therapists to help them thrive. Many children with speech, vision, or hearing impairments may need special devices to allow them to complete daily care activities. Moreover, households with disabled children may need to be retrofitted for wheelchairs and other assistive devices. Fortunately, the government, nonprofit organizations, and lawsuits offer financial assistance to disabled children and their families.
What if a Child Needs Healthcare Coverage?
Health insurance is often available to low-income families through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), federal government programs offered in all states. Depending on the state, Medicaid and CHIP cover medication, hospitalization, outpatient care, psychological services, home care, and medical devices. Medicare is also a federal program offering medical, prescription, and hospitalization coverage. Those with disabilities may apply, although disabled recipients of Social Security Disability may already qualify.
What about Home Modifications for a Disabled Child?
For those families needing home modifications to accommodate a disabled child, such as wheelchair ramps, chair lifts, and wider doorways, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Fair Housing Act offer funding for home modifications. They provide various loans and vouchers to make home modifications affordable. Other governmental assistance programs provide scholarships, benefits, grants, and subsidized loans to help fund the additional needs of disabled children.
Can Children Injured at Birth Receive Financial Support?
The most common governmental assistance comes from the Social Security Administration through disability payments. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) supplies monthly income to families with disabled children and financial needs. To qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration, a child must have one of the listed impairments in the Code of Federal Regulations, such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, blindness, deafness, low birth weight (under 2 pounds, 10 ounces), and severe cognitive disorders.
Parents apply at a local social security office. The application includes the child’s licensed medical doctors’ information about the child’s disability or disabilities. Children with physical or mental impairments (or both) that are expected to last for at least a year qualify for disability payments if such impairments severely limit their abilities to function and shorten their lifespan. They are deemed disabled for benefits purposes. The physical or mental impairment must be medically verifiable through clinical diagnostics, such as scans and other medical and technological methods of verifying disease and disability. A doctor’s statement is not enough.
Other government resources include the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides financial support and services to qualifying applicants, including childcare assistance, child welfare, work support, and preschool education. Applicants who are pregnant, 18 or younger, the head of their household, and care for children 18 years or younger are eligible. For nutritional needs, the nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) caters to low-income women and children without access to adequate nutrition. The program also provides nutritional education about breastfeeding and nourishing families.
What about Funding for the Child’s School?
Additionally, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) supplies educational resources and services for special education and early childhood development services. Special education includes programs tailored to a child’s educational needs, including individual learning plans (IEPs). And children with disabilities may also be eligible for school transportation, counseling, and various therapies, such as speech, occupational, and physical. To qualify for IDEA benefits, a child must have a cognitive disability, severe psycho-emotional disabilities, learning disability, autism, traumatic brain injury, or impaired vision, speech, or hearing. Children with health impairments, including bone deformities, also qualify.
Are there Grants Available for Children with Birth Injuries?
In addition to government benefit programs, needy families with disabled children may receive public and private grants covering medical and living needs, such as special adaptive and medical equipment and other expenses. Specific grants to children with birth injuries from governmental and nonprofit organizations are available online through Candid, which maintains an online database of available grants. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) provides grants to intellectually disabled children, and the Disabled Children’s Relief Fund pays for therapeutic treatment, adaptive devices, and other medical needs.
Do Children with Cerebral Palsy Qualify for Financial Support?
Since cerebral palsy is a common birth injury outcome, many private organizations provide funding and support for children who suffer from symptoms associated with the disability. Nonprofits, such as the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA), and Ability Found, provide financial support for technological and medical equipment to assist children with mobility, intellectual and other limitations due to cerebral palsy.
What do Legal Claims Offer Financially to Children with Birth Injuries?
Compensation from those who caused a child’s birth injury can cover past and future financial outlays for medical treatment, support services, adaptive equipment, housing modifications, and all other needs arising from the injury. Additionally, a successful birth injury claim settlement can include payment for a child’s pain and suffering. In essence, birth injury settlements may result in complete or partial compensation for the pain and suffering and economic losses resulting from the birth injury for the child’s life.
While some birth injury lawsuits settle with the responsible parties and their insurance companies, others do not. To receive compensation in the absence of a settlement, the injured child’s parents must file a lawsuit, proceed to trial litigation, and allow a jury to decide who is liable and for how much. An injured party typically relies on a qualified birth injury attorney to file a lawsuit, gather evidence, and strategize for the successful outcome of the claim.
Legal Support for Your Child’s Case in New Jersey
If your child’s birth injury results from medical negligence, talk to an experienced birth injury attorney on our team to discuss the financial assistance you require for your family. We can walk you through the various options that may be available to you and how we can assist with taking on the legal process while you focus on caring for your child’s needs. Contact us online or call 866-708-8617 for a free consultation.