Lifetime Benefits versus SSI – What’s the Difference?

Financial assistance is a critical need for many parents of children with special needs. With soaring costs related to new treatments, therapy, housing, education and more, families can feel the pinch year-to-year and day-to-day. While Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a form of financial assistance provided by the Federal government can offer some reprieve for those families that qualify, this need to qualify can be a significant challenge and resulting sore spot for many. The potential eligibility for additional (and more meaningful) assistance in the form of Lifetime Benefits is a very important factor that parents should also understand, both in terms of how they differ from SSI as well as their significant financial value for children with Cerebral Palsy.

One misconception surrounding Lifetime Benefits is that they are in some way similar or limited in the way SSI assistance is. While both are connected to the physical or cognitive limitations of the recipient, SSI is focused on providing steady, though very limited income when a child experiences a qualified disabling condition, and the family income does not exceed certain limitations, regardless of the cause of the disabling condition. Lifetime Benefits, on the other hand, are much more generous and are available regardless of family income status, if the child’s condition was due to a preventable medical error.

As mentioned above, SSI is a difficult area for many families. Qualifying for this important stream of income can be extremely difficult. Because bureaucracy can play a part in these barriers and delays, it’s important for families of children of Cerebral Palsy to also pursue eligibility for Lifetime Benefits. Doing so can preserve options for the future, and families unable to collect SSI are not precluded from qualifying for Lifetime Benefits. As such, the most important step while looking for financial assistance through Lifetime Benefits is to maximize your options by first pursuing a Medical Legal Review to determine whether your child’s condition was due to a preventable medical error.

SSI eligibility is contingent on proving financial hardship, while Lifetime Benefits are contingent on a finding that the child’s condition is the result of a medical professional deviating from a standard of care. Lifetime Benefits seek to comprehensively compensate children for the challenges they will face for decades, helping pay for adaptive equipment, future housing, education, critical needs and more. SSI, however, merely seeks to help families with day-to-day expenses, while Lifetime Benefits seeks to remove any financial barriers that might prevent a child from reaching his or her full potential.

While symptoms can differ person-to-person, Cerebral Palsy carries with it a world of challenging expenses. If you are having trouble qualifying for SSI or would simply like to get answers regarding the cause of your child’s Cerebral Palsy, request a free Medical Legal Review to examine the circumstances surrounding his or her birth. Doing so can determine if additional financial assistance is available well beyond restrictive SSI benefits, while not limiting your family’s ability to get the best care and support possible for your child.

For more information on Lifetime Benefits, Medical Legal Reviews or resources for your child, contact us today by calling 800-462-5772 or filling out the contact form on our website or Facebook Page.

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