Imagine what you would do if your child doubled over in pain each time they ate. They might get diarrhea after eating, and they might be losing weight. You finally get a doctor to listen to you and eventually find out that your child has an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's. You may soon come to realize that treating this condition is very costly. You may have to pay out-of-pocket for some vital nutritional supplements that aren't covered by insurance. You might have to miss work for the frequent medical appointments. All of this can wreck your finances.
Some parents might turn to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. This is a needs-based program that might provide a small bit of financial relief for these parents. Inflammatory bowel diseases have their own listing, which means there are specific criteria that must be met in order for a child to qualify.
Typically, children with mild IBD won't qualify for benefits because the impacts the disease has on their body isn't great enough to meet the requirements. When the disease is moderate to severe, there are certain hallmarks that the SSA will look for to determine if a child meets the requirements.
One of the things that they look for a low body mass index (BMI). There is a chance that the alteration in the absorption of nutrients that comes from this condition won't allow the child to gain weight and grow normally. When this is a factor, the doctor would need to get the child's weight and calculate the BMI at least 60 days apart in within a 12-month span. Dependence on a feeding tube, as well as low hemoglobin or low albumin, can also be qualifying points.
If you have a child with moderate to severe IBD, find out if the child might qualify for SSI. Remember, your application might be initially denied, but you do have the right to appeal. Just remember to do so quickly so your time doesn't run out.