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Infantile Spasms and SSI Disability

Infantile spasms is the term used to describe a brain disorder in babies where epileptic spasms occur. A more severe type of condition can also be present called West Syndrome which is characterized by the seizures, hypsarrhythmia, and mental retardation.
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Infantile spasms can include rapid spasms where the child may bend forward, moving their arms and legs. Side effects of infantile spasms can include learning disabilities and developmental issues for the child.  Scientists are unsure of what causes these seizures but genetic conditions, birth defects and other metabolic disorders are considered to be contributing factors.

Most children tend to outgrow infantile spasms as they age, but many children may continue to have epileptic seizures. Treatment for the condition can include anti-seizure medications and surgery, under more severe conditions.

Concerns for parents who have a child with infantile spasms


If you have a child who is suffering from infantile spasms no doubt the condition is extremely distressing, but you also may be struggling with the costs of medication and therapy. Additionally, your work schedule may be affected as your child requires increased parental supervision and monitoring.

What types of benefits are available to help care for your child with infantile spasms? Some families, who meet the income and resource requirements of the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) may be able to receive monthly cash benefits through the SSI program and insurance through Medicaid to help care for their child’s medical needs.

How can my child get SSI for Infantile Spasms?


The good news is there are funds available for certain disability claimants; the bad news is the disability process is very time-consuming and difficult. The Social Security Administration has constructed a list called the SSA Listing of Impairments. There is both an adult listing and a child listing (the childhood listing is referred to as Part B).

If your child’s condition meets or exceeds the listing and the SSA determines the family’s income and resources are below the allowable limit for the SSA program, SSI benefits are awarded to the child.

Meeting a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments for Infantile Spasms


The SSA will evaluate your child’s infantile spasm condition by analyzing their symptoms and determining if it meets or exceeds the listing identified under Listing 11.00 Neurological. Under this listing there are several categories including major motor seizure disorder, nonconvulsive epilepsy, brain tumors, motor dysfunction (due to any neurological disorder), cerebral palsy, Meningomyelocele and related disorders, and communication impairment associated with neurological disorders.

To prove your child’s condition meets or exceeds a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments they need to have good medical documentation which clearly states their diagnosis and all of the symptoms that they are currently experiencing. Failure to seek proper medical care of have clear medical records can jeopardize your child’s ability to win Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Some parents are confused about what benefits are available to children and want to know if they could get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for their child. SSDI is available to workers who have worked and earned enough work credits. SSDI auxiliary benefits are also offered to qualifying dependents (who do not have to be disabled) but generally disabled children do not get SSDI benefits (unless their parent is receiving SSDI or has in the past).
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