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What Qualifies As Being 100% Disabled With Cerebral Palsy?

Male nurse helping a little boy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that primarily disrupts motor functions but may also be accompanied by cognitive limitations. CP can manifest in various ways, depending on the cause of the condition and the areas of the brain it affects. Some people may have mild or moderate symptoms, while others experience more severe ones. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes cerebral palsy as a qualifying disability for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Insurance (SSI). 

Unfortunately, for some who suffer from this disorder, having CP is not enough to qualify for Social Security payments. The extent of the condition must reach a certain level of severity to qualify, per the Social Security Administration. Some may consider this requirement to be 100% disabled by cerebral palsy. 

There are different sets of criteria for children than adults with cerebral palsy to be considered entirely disabled by the disorder.

What Does the Social Security Administration Consider 100% Disabled with Cerebral Palsy for Children?

Children with cerebral palsy may qualify if they have a form of the disorder that interferes with their movement in two extremities. This interference must result in extreme limitations on their ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use their upper extremities. 

Extremities refers to their upper and lower extremities. Upper extremities include arms, shoulders, wrists, hands, and fingers. Lower extremities include legs, feet, and toes. Movement can be disrupted in either two upper, two lower, or a combination of one upper and one lower extremity to qualify. 

In older children, extreme limitation is evaluated on their ability to stand, walk independently, balance, or complete age-appropriate activities with their upper extremities. The SSA considers things like whether: 

  • The child can walk and balance simultaneously without help from another person or device, such as a walker, two canes or crutches.
  • The child can stand from a seated position without assistance from another person or assistive devices, such as a walker, two canes or crutches.
  • They can perform fine motor skills like moving their fingers to pinch or gross motor skills such as lifting their arm to reach for something. 

Infants who would not yet be able to walk, stand, or balance are examined for whether they can perform certain activities that children their age would normally be able to. This may include grasping, crawling, or rolling over.

What Makes Adults Fully Disabled by Cerebral Palsy?

Adults with cerebral palsy may receive SSDI or SSI benefits if the disorder has left them totally disabled by SSA standards. To qualify for disability benefits, listing 11.07 enumerates three criteria that an adult may meet. First, they must suffer from one of the following:

  1. Interference in their ability to control movement in two extremities (two arms, two legs, or an arm and a leg) leading to severe difficulty in standing from a seated position or balancing while walking or standing.
  2. Significant interference in communication as a result of vision, hearing, or speech problems.
  3. “Marked” physical limitations in addition to at least one marked mental limitation in one of the following areas:
  • Learning, recalling, or using information
  • Interacting with others
  • Focusing attention on a task and sustaining a certain pace while performing it

Within each of these three areas is a host of examples of activities that can be affected by cerebral palsy. 

What Other Qualifications Must Be Met for Disability Benefits for Cerebral Palsy?

Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income have different eligibility requirements.

SSDI Requirements for Benefits

To qualify for the SSDI program, a disabled person must have made enough tax contributions to the Disability Trust Fund via their paychecks from their W-2 job. These contributions are usually listed as FICA contributions on their check as they are required under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). In addition, if that criterion has been met, they will be covered by SSDI if they also meet the age and work history requirements set by the Social Security Administration guidelines.

SSI Requirements for Cerebral Palsy Disability Benefits

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program benefits people at retirement age, blind, or disabled with limited income and resources. There is no work history requirement. 

Learn More About Disability Qualifications by Contacting a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Today

Seeking disability benefits from the SSA is one avenue for obtaining the financial resources you need to take care of your child, but there are others. For example, your child’s cerebral palsy may result from a birth injury caused by medical negligence. For instance, if your child was deprived of oxygen, pulled from the birth canal with forceps or a vacuum, suffered infection due to delayed treatment or diagnosis, or squeezed in the cranial region due to improper medical practices, it may have damaged blood vessels in their brain, resulting in cerebral palsy. 

A cerebral palsy attorney can investigate the circumstances of your child’s neurological condition to discover who and what caused it. If medical negligence played a part, you are entitled to compensation from the liable party through a medical malpractice claim. 

Being 100% disabled with cerebral palsy by SSA standards may impact your case by demonstrating the extent of harm done to you or your child and increasing your compensation. Call Brown & Barron today to discuss your cerebral palsy case.

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