If you suffer from cerebral palsy, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of lifelong conditions that affect a person’s movement and coordination. It is caused by abnormalities in the brain that develop before, during, or soon after birth.
According to United Cerebral Palsy, almost 800,000 Americans have been diagnosed with the disorder. While medication, therapy, treatments, and surgery can help improve a sufferer’s life, sadly there is no cure.
Furthermore, cerebral palsy costs can be very high. Make no mistake: the Cerebral Palsy Guide puts the lifetime costs of treatment and care at approximately $1 million – and that’s on top of normal living expenses. Gulp.
If you or a loved one has cerebral palsy, it’s important to know that financial support is available.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the symptoms of cerebral palsy, who qualifies for disability benefits, and we’ll also advise you on how to navigate America’s complex Social Security Disability Claims process.
”If you or a loved one has cerebral palsy, it’s important to know that financial support is available.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy
The signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy vary greatly from person to person. Some of the more common ones include:
*Seeming too stiff or floppy
*Weak arms or legs
*Fidgety or clumsy movements
*Walking on tiptoes
*Excessive drooling and problems swallowing
Am I eligible for disability benefits with cerebral palsy?
Adults with cerebral palsy
An adult applicant must have at least one of the following:
*An IQ score of 70 or less
*Abnormal behavior patterns, such as emotional illnesses
*Significant difficulty in spoken or visual communication
*Significant difficulty with motor function in two limbs, resulting in sustained disturbance of large movements, fine motor skills, walking, or standing
Children with cerebral palsy
Meanwhile, children must have medical evidence that shows they have cerebral palsy together with at least one of the following:
*Difficulty (for their age) with motor function involving two limbs
Less severe motor dysfunction and one of the below:
*An IQ of 70 or less
*A seizure disorder, with at least one seizure within the past year
*An emotional disorder
*Difficulty with vocal communication, vision, or hearing
”The good news is that the SSA recognizes cerebral palsy as a disability
Qualifying without meeting a medical listing
Not every cerebral palsy sufferer will meet the SSA’s strict medical criteria. However, this does not mean you will be denied disability benefits.
You could still qualify by having your doctor fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation, which considers the work activities you can perform despite the limitations of your mental condition and treatment.
“Applying for disability benefits with cerebral palsy can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing process, but you don’t need to go through it alone. ”
What support is available to cerebral palsy sufferers?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI is designed to provide income to Americans who are unable to work due to their disability, provided they have paid into social security via payroll taxes or FICA.
Specifically, you need to have earned a certain number of work credits. You can earn up to four work credits per year.
Elsewhere, SSI is funded by general tax revenues (not social security taxes) and is intended for US citizens who have little or no resources or income.
For example, to receive SSI, you must not have more than $2,000 (or $3,000 for a couple) in countable assets. Unlike SSDI, your work history is unimportant: you don’t need to have worked a certain amount of time or have paid FICA taxes to be eligible for SSI.
This means that children with severe forms of cerebral palsy may qualify for SSI (provided their family meets the SSA’s income and asset requirements) and adults with severe cerebral palsy may be eligible for SSI or SSDI benefits.
How to apply for social security disability benefits with cerebral palsy
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits is an arduous process, as much as we wish it weren’t so.
To lodge a Social Security Disability Claim, you’ll need to submit medical evidence (think MRI and CT scans, IQ testing, records of hospitalizations or surgeries related to cerebral palsy, etc).
You will also need to gather everything listed here (adults) and here (children). Once all your paperwork is in place, you can file your Social Security Disability Claims Application online, by phone, or in person.
Can I get support when applying for disability benefits?
Applying for disability benefits with cerebral palsy can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing process, but you don’t need to go through it alone. A social security disability lawyer can support you from the very start of the process.
At Sampson Dunlap LLP, we have specialized in social security disability claims for over 30 years and are familiar with social security rules and regulations.
Our vast experience, knowledge, and resources mean we know how to file your social security application in the most likely way to have benefits approved for you.
We can also offer advice on whether your claim is valid, explain the system, cut through the complicated jargon, and take care of the confusing paperwork. And, should your application be denied (the average acceptance rate of initial applications is a paltry 22%), we’ll help you file for reconsideration.
Our message? If you or your child are suffering from cerebral palsy and struggling with the Social Security Disability Claims process, don’t delay. Speak with Sampson Dunlap today.
Stop struggling with a system that does not care. We are here to support you. That is why you do not pay for our services until we win. Don’t wait any longer. Take control of your life and speak to our friendly team today.