Children with Cerebral Palsy and Social Security Benefits | Charles Thronson

Children with Cerebral Palsy and Social Security Benefits

April 11, 2016

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs administered by the Social Security Administration that are intended to provide monetary assistance to vulnerable populations, including individuals with disabilities who are unable to acquire gainful employment. Applications for disability benefits are submitted a local social security office, which makes a preliminary determination as to whether the applicant satisfies the basic eligibility requirements regarding income levels and work credits. Then, the application is forwarded to a state determination service for further processing, which, in Utah, is the Division of Disability Determination Services at the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation.

Children younger than 18 who have disabilities and come from low-income families may be eligible for SSI payments. Additionally, adults who became disabled in childhood (before the age of 22) might be entitled to SSDI benefits based on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. One of the potential qualifying disabilities for both benefit programs is Cerebral Palsy. It is a neurological disorder that damages parts of the brain that deal with bodily movements. Cerebral Palsy may result in problems with motor function and coordination, reflexes, posture, muscle tone, learning, hearing, speech, and vision.

If your child has a severe disability such as Cerebral Palsy, he or she may qualify for social security benefits. You should consult with an experienced attorney, such as Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law, to discuss the process of obtaining such benefits for your child.

Severity of Disease is Relevant

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a list of impairments caused by Cerebral Palsy that would automatically qualify it as a disability that impairs the ability to gain employment for the purpose of disability benefits. Even if an individual does not automatically qualify under this listing, SSA may still grant benefits by analyzing the effect of impairments to the capacity to work.  Under Listing 111.07, qualifying Cerebral palsy must involve:

  • Motor dysfunction that is characterized by gross anatomical deformity and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limited motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint, resulting in inability to ambulate or perform fine and gross movements effectively;
  • Persistent disorganization or deficit of motor function for the age group involving two extremities that interferes with age-appropriate major daily activities and results in disruption of fine and gross motor movements or gait and station;
  • Less severe motor dysfunction and one of the following;
    • An IQ of 70 or less;
    • A Seizure disorder, with at least one major motor seizure in the year prior to application;
    • Significant interference with communication due to speech, hearing, or visual defect; or
    • Significant emotional disorder.

Income and Resources

The SSA will also consider the child’s income and resources in order to determine whether he or she is eligible for SSI. This consideration includes the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household. The child must not be working and earning more than a certain amount pre-determined by SSA each year, have a physical or mental condition that results in marked and severe functional limitation like severe Cerebral Palsy, as discussed above, which lasts for at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.

If a child with Cerebral Palsy who is receiving SSI benefits turns 18, the SSA will then decide if he or she will qualify for SSDI benefits as an adult. This consideration will no longer rely on the income and resources of family members, but will only depend on the adult’s income and resources. SSA will conduct a review of the child’s medical condition when he or she turns 18 years old. That that review will take place that one-year period after the child’s 18th birthday. SSA’s review will entail adult disability rules to determine eligibility.

If you have a child with Cerebral Palsy, he or she may be qualified to receive social security benefits that have the potential to alleviate the significant financial resources necessary to assist with providing care. Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law, is an experienced attorney who can provide you with seasoned counsel in filing a claim with SSA for benefits for your disabled child. Do not hesitate to contact us today by calling (800) 532-0021 or by completing our online form.

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