Can My Child Born with Cerebral Palsy Qualify for Disability?

Posted on October 03, 2014 by Shapiro Law Group

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder and birth injury which damages the parts of the brain that control movement. CP can cause a range of symptoms, including difficulties moving, impaired vision, difficulties communicating, epilepsy, cognitive difficulties/learning disabilities and musculoskeletal problems.

Given the burdens this disease imposes on children, those who come from low-income families and have severe problems caused by cerebral palsy should be able to get SSI disability benefits.

What Qualifies as Severe Motor Problems Due to CP?

A child with CP qualifies if she has problems with two extremities that cause either severe difficulty walking or severe difficulty with fine and gross movements compared to children of the same age. Fine and gross movements are things like reaching, fingering, pushing pulling and grasping.

For older children, this includes her ability to prepare simple food/feed herself and her ability to take care of personal hygiene. She must be unable to walk independently without the use of a hand-held device that requires the use of both arms. For example, if she can walk effectively with a cane, she will not qualify for SSI, but a child who needs both arms to use a walker will.

Another factor to consider is spastic quadriparesis, which affects about 77 percent of all children with CP and substantially impairs mobility.

If your child’s motor skills are typical of children who are half her age, then your child should satisfy this part of the listing. The ability to walk independently in the child’s own home without the use of assistive devices does not, in and of itself, mean that they do not meet the listing.

Can Children with Less Severe Motor Problems Qualify?

Children who suffer from slight motor dysfunction plus one of the following will satisfy the listing:

  • An IQ of 70 or less.
  • A seizure disorder, having had at least one major motor seizure in the year before applying for SSI.
  • Significant communication problems due to a deficit in speech, hearing or vision.
  • A significant emotional disorder.

Often, CP can be caused by medical malpractice. Every case of CP is unique to that child, because CP is a handicap with a broad spectrum of disability. If you believe your child’s CP was the result of negligence, contact an attorney and have your child’s case reviewed.

Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area



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