Shaken Baby Syndrome: How To Financially Take Care Of Your Shaken Baby
Imagine this—you leave your precious baby in the care of someone you trust so you can go to work, run errands or have some time to yourself. Then, a few hours later you receive a phone call and are told that your baby is in the hospital holding onto life with a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome. Of course, your first main concerns are your baby's health and bringing the abuser to justice. However, at some point your finances may need attention. Here's what you need to know if this scenario has happened to you.
Long-Lasting Effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome
Your baby was lucky to survive, but will likely have long-lasting effects due to the severe brain injury he or she suffered. Long-term health effects of shaken baby syndrome may include:
- learning and cognitive impairment
- physical, visual, hearing and speech disabilities
- cerebral palsy
- behavioral problems
You may not be able to keep your job due to your little one's long-lasting health problems and your inability to trust anyone ever again. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to ease the financial strain so you can focus your attention on your baby.
Supplemental Security Income for Your Baby
Due to these severe health conditions, many of which have severe functional limitations, you will be able to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on behalf of your baby. While the application process and requirements vary from state-to-state, which may take 3-6 months or longer, cerebral palsy and blindness are several presumptive disabilities that receive immediate SSI payments.
You and other family members residing in the household will have to meet the resource limit for your state. Resources include cash and assets that can be easily liquidated. For example, a second vehicle that can be sold to cover expenses is a resource. Speak with a social security disability lawyer for more information about resource limits and filing for SSI for your baby.
Important note: there may be very limited SSI disability payments of $30 for months when your baby is hospitalized and the health insurance pays for his or her care. You can click here to find out more.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Compensation
Due to the mounting bills, some people in this situation file personal injury lawsuits. However, remember that you and other family members who reside with your baby have a resource limit. Winning a lawsuit could place you well over the limit, and this could mean your baby will lose SSI disability benefits. However, there is a way to get around this legally: establish a trust fund with the compensation from the lawsuit.
The funds from the trust can be used to pay for additional medical services and other important necessities that the medical insurance and benefit payments do not cover. For example, the trust fund can be used to pay for clothing, housing and other daily living expenses in most states. However, your state may have specific limitations regarding trust funds for those who receive SSI benefits. You may need to establish a trustee. Be sure to speak with your social security disability lawyer regarding the legal and tax ramifications of establishing a trust fund.
Important note: just because your baby is awarded compensation from a personal injury lawsuit doesn't necessarily mean the compensation will be received. The abuser may not have the money to pay it. In that case, you can garnish the abuser's wages.
The long-term effects of shaken baby syndrome can cause your baby to be disabled for life. You and your immediate family will be faced with many challenges, including financial problems. Fortunately, you can file for SSI and file a personal injury lawsuit to help cover the expenses.