Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

The Dave Ramsey Call & Social Security Benefits for Preemies

I found it! I searched and searched for the original call that I referred to in my Preemies & Social Security article a couple weeks ago, because a number of you requested it, and thanks to the help of the Dave Ramsey radio team I was able to get an audio of the complete call.

Now, before I get to the audio, I just want to say that I don’t want to harbor any negative feelings toward Dave Ramsey. If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is you can visit his site at www.daveramsey.com and see for yourself. He’s an incredible financial adviser who answers people’s financial questions during his 3-hour radio show every weekday. I think he teaches wonderful principles and I am a dedicated gazelle-intense fan! Anyway, the fact that preemies are eligible to receive social security benefits for disability was new information to him and his reaction was genuine.

Anyway, my original article was written simply because I was interested in the “preemies and social security income” topic, and I was intrigued and a bit disappointed in Dave’s reaction to the idea of preemies receiving social security benefits. However, it was nothing new to the type of reactions many of us are used to getting from family and friends about various preemie baby topics. I’m sure we’re all learning to take naive comments with a grain of salt, and I hope we all have the opportunity to educate those around us so they will be more careful with their judgmental comments in the future.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the conversation that I heard on The Dave Ramsey Show sometime between July 13th and July 29th, 2010.

[audio:http://preemiebabies.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Dave-Ramsey-Preemies-on-SSI.mp3|titles=Preemie Call|artists=Dave Ramsey]

So, now that you’ve listened to it, what’s your response to this call?

I have to admit that though disappointed in Dave’s reaction (however forgivable due to his lack of experience with preemies), I was also a little disappointed in Jennifer for not standing up for herself when Dave reacted to babies receiving disability benefits. Didn’t she say something like “yeah, we never wanted the money anyway but they kept telling us ‘he’s entitled ’til he’s three, he’s entitled ’til he’s three’.” Obviously she wanted the money then because she accepted it, but in the face of criticism she wimped out instead of testifying to the difficulties faced by families with preemie babies. I would have liked to see her educate him just a little bit.

Social Security BenefitsAnyway, this may also be a lesson to some of you who are currently receiving SSI for your preemie. Jennifer said that their savings account is what changed their eligibility for benefits after a certain amount of time, so make sure that you are in close contact with your case worker and know exactly when you should not be receiving benefits any longer so this woman’s predicament does not become your own. Let’s learn something from her experience.

Once again, please don’t start sending hate mail to Dave Ramsey. If you want to contact him in response to what he said during this call I request that you please do so with the intent to forgive his inexperience and to educate him so he will be more thoughtful in the future when responding to situations he does not understand.

Thanks everyone!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. Michelle Yvonne Burns says:

    Dave does not know and understand about these issues. He was surprised by the amount of their hospital bill which was only $200,000 while ours was $850,000.00 so he clearly does not know what is involved with a NICU stay.
    I too am disappointed that Jennifer did not explain why the baby is eligible for SSI. I would like to call Dave myself and explain to all listeners what it’s like being a preemie parent and the NICU experience. The $30 per month we received while our daughter was in the hospital didn’t even begin to cover the cost in gas for the trips back and forth to the hospital every day.
    We spent 123 days there and nearly every day I was there 12-18 hours a day. If I wanted to get anything done like pay bills or buy groceries I would leave for 30-45 minutes during Doctors rounds and shift changes. So most days I had four to eight trips back & forth to the hospital from where we were staying at my mother-in-law’s house which was only 7 miles from the hospital since we lived 25 miles away from the hospital. I was able to get gas money from Medicaid Travel which really saved us, but near the end of her stay my car was totaled due to a driver who was on the cell phone so I had to borrow a car just to bring her home from the hospital.
    Dave does not understand all that’s involved with this kind of an experience and everything that must be bought and prepared before you even bring your child home. There really needs to be more public awareness about the preemie world especially since premature births are on the rise around the world.

  2. Stacey Roberts says:

    Im still confused about what it is that Dave did wrong? I will not post my full opinion though because I found out the hard way that I was the only one on here that refused benefits. The case worker at the hospital really pushed for us to apply for formula and other benefits. I just don’t believe that EVERYONE should accept benefits if they don’t really need them. My baby needed other things after we were released from the hospital as well…ROP surgery on both eyes, many-many trips 200 miles away to his specialist appointments…does this make him disabled? This woman clearly stated that they did not need the extra money…she is responsible for doing the right thing and returning what she got unjustly. I think he may not understand some of the difficulties with having a preemie, but he clearly stated that in the call. There were many, many families in the NICU that clearly needed this assistance. If we all take and take then when some little tiny thing desperately needs the help…one day there will be none there. It’s not a golden pot at the end of a rainbow…it’s meant for those in desperate need. I know of several families that make two times what our income is and they got this same assistance. I feel bad for this woman, but the forms that she signed clearly state the income limits and the rules to be qualified. It is very hard to have a clear mind when you are going through such a traumatic event and I am not sure why the case workers are trying to push this when it can cause more harm than good. I imagine it will be a pretty big problem for them to pay all of this back now. Please remember that everyone’s situation is not the same. Just because some people on here experienced hardship and the need for extra help, does not mean everyone who got it needed it.

    • I don’t think Dave did anything WRONG, I just thought he made too quick of a judgment call about something he knew nothing about. You’re right though, he did say in the end that he didn’t know much about the situation.

      I totally agree with what you’ve said, and I’m glad you have not backed down in the face of everyone else’s opinions.

      Thanks for your comment!

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