What Financial Benefits Can People with Cerebral Palsy Receive?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of neurological disorders that can cause severe physical and mental impairments. It is a lifelong condition that can have a significant impact on a person's ability to work and earn an income. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two financial assistance programs for people with cerebral palsy who are unable to work due to their disability. The SSA provides disability benefits to children and adults with cerebral palsy whose records contain specific tests set out in the agency's Blue Book.

In general, all children (young and old) who qualify for SSI must have cerebral palsy that seriously affects at least two or more limbs. Adults with a severe disability due to cerebral palsy may be eligible for SSI or SSDI benefits. Most adults who have SSI qualified as children; however, it's possible to apply for SSI as an adult even if you didn't qualify before as a child. Adults with cerebral palsy can get SSDI, SSI, or both. The first step in qualifying for disability benefits, either through SSI or SSDI, is to contact the Social Security Administration and schedule an appointment at a local office.

The SSA details, in an official list of disabilities, how significant the impairments caused by cerebral palsy must be in order for it to qualify as a disability that prevents an adult from working. With medical evidence to support your application, you can expect to be approved for disability benefits in just a couple of months. In general, a person with a moderate to severe case of cerebral palsy will be entitled to receive SSDI benefits instead of SSDI benefits, since there is a provision in the law that allows people who are disabled before their 22nd birthday to collect SSDI benefits based on their parents' work history. Depending on which program you qualify for, you may also be eligible to receive Medicare, Medicaid and dependent benefits for your family. Because there is no cure, children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy are often unable to work as adults. Some adults with cerebral palsy may experience a lack of coordination and mild speech problems, and perhaps an unusual gait, but not much else, while other adults with cerebral palsy can't walk, coordinate the use of their hands, speak effectively, or hear properly. Cerebral palsy is also expensive for families because children with cerebral palsy often have another disability, such as intellectual disability, epilepsy, loss of vision or difficulty seeing, or autism.

This means that if you earn too high an income, your child will not be entitled to disability benefits until age 18, regardless of the severity of their cerebral palsy. For more information on the additional benefits you can get from Social Security if you have cerebral palsy or your child was born with it, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA has two financial assistance programs for people who cannot work because of a disability and it can take three to six months for the SSA to determine if you qualify for disability benefits.