DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR CEREBRAL PALSY
Disability benefits for cerebral palsy are available through the Social Security Administration. In order to receive SSD and SSI benefits, your cerebral palsy symptoms must be so severe that you cannot work for more than 12 months. This article discusses cerebral palsy and how to win disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain and the nerves in the body. Because it affects the nerves, the disease disrupts your coordination and muscle movements.
Some adults with cerebral palsy may experience a lack of coordination and mild speech problems. They may have mild impairments, like an awkward gait. Other adults, however, may be unable to walk. It is possible for those with cerebral palsy to be unable to use their hands, speak coherently, or hear properly.
Most people who have cerebral palsy are diagnosed at birth. According to United Cerebral Palsy, there are almost 800,000 adults and children who currently have the disorder.
If you have cerebral palsy or you have a child with cerebral palsy, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA gives benefits to people who are unable to work due to a severe disability such as cerebral palsy. To receive SSD benefits, you must have worked and paid taxes for 20 out of the last 40 quarters. Additionally, your condition must prevent you from working for more than 12 months.
- Spastic cerebral palsy. This type is the most common form of the disorder. People with spastic cerebral palsy have stiff muscles which cause jerky or repeated movements. There are different forms of spastic cerebral palsy, depending on the body parts affected.
THREE FORMS OF SPASTIC CEREBRAL PALSY
- Spastic hemiplegia or hemiparesis. This type of cerebral palsy affects the arm, the hand, and sometimes the leg on only one side of the body. Children with this form may have delays in learning to talk, but their intelligence is usually normal.
- Spastic diplegia or diparesis. People with this form of cerebral palsy have muscle stiffness in their legs. However, their arms and face are less severely affected. Intelligence and language skills are usually normal.
- Spastic quadriplegia or quadriparesis. This is the most severe form of cerebral palsy, because it involves severe stiffness of the arms and legs and a floppy, or weak, neck. People with spastic quadriplegia are usually unable to walk. Additionally, they often have trouble speaking. This form of cerebral palsy may also involve moderate to severe intellectual disorder.
THREE MORE FORMS OF CEREBRAL PALSY
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy. This type of cerebral palsy involves slow and uncontrollable jerky movements of the hands, feet, arms, or legs. The face muscles and tongue may be overactive and cause some children to drool or make faces. People with this type often have trouble sitting or walking. People with dyskinetic cerebral palsy do not usually have intellectual problems.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy. This form of the disorder affects balance and depth perception. People with ataxic cerebral palsy walk in an unsteady manner and have a hard time with quick or precise movements such as writing, buttoning a shirt, or reaching for a book.
- Mixed types. This kind of cerebral palsy includes symptoms that are a mix of the other types.
CEREBRAL PALSY? FILE AN APPLICATION FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS
Call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to set up an appointment to submit an application for SSI or SSDI through your local SSA office. Or, you can apply online on the Social Security’s website.
After you submit all the information to the SSA, a claims examiner will request your medical records. Next, a medical consultant will review your records and make a decision about whether you should receive disability benefits. It can take 4 to 8 months for the SSA to make the initial decision.
If you need to apply for SSI for a child with cerebral palsy, the rules are different. Read our article on how children with cerebral palsy can qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Adults with cerebral palsy may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. To qualify, an adult’s cerebral palsy must prevent you from working. The SSA looks at the severity of your cerebral palsy under Listing 11.07, which you will find below.
LISTING 11.07 FOR CEREBRAL PALSY
The SSA has a listing for cerebral palsy. In order to receive disability benefits for cerebral palsy, you must meet or equal listing 11.07. This means you must have all of the cerebral palsy symptoms on SSA’s list. Likewise, you must also have symptoms with meet or equal the listing in terms of severity. Below, you will find Listing 11:07:
11.07 Cerebral palsy, characterized by A, B, or C:
A. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities (see 11.00D1), resulting in an extreme limitation (see 11.00D2) in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information (see 11.00G3b(i)); or
- Interacting with others (see 11.00G3b(ii)); or
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace (see 11.00G3b(iii)); or
- Adapting or managing oneself (see 11.00G3b(iv)).
C. Significant interference in communication due to speech, hearing, or visual deficit (see 11.00E2).
WHAT DOES SSA MEAN BY DISORGANIZATION OF MOTOR FUNCTION?
- Disorganization of motor function means interference, due to your neurological disorder, with movement of two extremities; i.e., the lower extremities, or upper extremities (including fingers, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders). By two extremities the SSA means both lower extremities, or both upper extremities, or one upper extremity and one lower extremity. All listings in this body system, except for 11.02 (Epilepsy), 11.10 (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and 11.20 (Coma and persistent vegetative state), include criteria for disorganization of motor function that results in an extreme limitation in your ability to:
- Stand up from a seated position; or
- Balance while standing or walking; or
- Use the upper extremities (including fingers, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders).
WHAT DOES SSA MEAN BY EXTEME LIMITATION?
The SSA defines an extreme limitation as the inability to stand up from a seated position and maintain balance in a standing position and while walking. Cerebral palsy can also result in scoliosis, which can cause pain and interfere with your postural activities. Also, the SSA defines an extreme limitation as the inability to use your upper extremities to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities.
The assessment of motor function depends on the degree of interference with standing up. When standing up you balance or walk. Additionally, you use your upper extremities, including your fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders.
THREE DESCRIPTIONS OF EXTREME LIMITATIONS
- FROM SITTING TO STANDING UP – The inability to stand up from a seated position means that once seated you are unable to stand and maintain an upright position without the assistance of another person or the use of an assistive device, such as a walker, two crutches, or two canes.
- BALANCE WHILE WALKING – If you cannot maintain balance in a standing position means that you are unable to maintain an upright position while standing or walking without the assistance of another person or an assistive device. An assistive device is a walker, two crutches, or two canes.
- USE OF THE UPPER EXTREMITIES – The inability to use your upper extremities means you have a loss of function of both upper extremities. This includes your fingers, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders. The inability to use your upper extremities must seriously limit your ability to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross motor movements. Inability to perform fine and gross motor movements could include not being able to pinch, manipulate, and use your fingers. Likewise, it can involve the inability to use your hands, arms, and shoulders to perform gross motor movements. These upper extremity movements involve handling, gripping, grasping, holding, turning, and reaching. Additionally, it includes not being able to perform exertional movements such a lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling.
COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS UNDER PART C OF LISTING 11.07
If you have significant difficulty communicating with others because you are hard of hearing, have a significant speech impairment or impediment, or have poor eyesight or vision problems, you may be able to fulfill this requirement.
HOW CAN THE RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY HELP YOU WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS?
If your cerebral palsy does not meet the SSA’s official listing for cerebral palsy, you still might be able to get disability benefits based on a medical-vocational allowance if you can show that your cerebral palsy reduces your capacity to work so much that there are no jobs you can do, considering your education, your prior job experience, and your age.
The residual functional capacity is what is “found” at step four of the disability review process. While DDS determines your RFC at the lower levels of your claim. Once the case moves to the a hearing, it is the ALJ who will determine your RFC. Your RFC can help you win benefits by showing that your cannot physical or mentally sustain a full-time job. Find out more about disability hearings here.
In order for the ALJ’s RFC assessment to comply with SSA’s regulations, the RFC assessment must include a narrative discussion. The discussion must describe how the evidence supports each conclusion, citing specific medical facts (e.g., laboratory findings) and non-medical evidence (e.g., daily activities, observations).
HOW THE JUDGE ASSESSES YOUR RFC WHEN YOU HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY
In assessing your RFC when you have cerebral palsy, the ALJ must discuss the your ability to perform work activities in an ordinary work setting on a regular basis (i.e., 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, or an equivalent work schedule). Also, the ALJ must describe the maximum amount of each work activity you can perform based on the evidence in the case record. The ALJ must also explain how material inconsistencies in the evidence were considered and resolved.
In all cases in which symptoms, such as pain, are alleged, the RFC assessment must:
- Contain a thorough discussion and analysis of the objective medical and other evidence, including the individual’s complaints of pain and other symptoms and the adjudicator’s personal observations, if appropriate;
- Include a resolution of any inconsistencies in the evidence as a whole; and
- Set forth a logical explanation of the effects of the symptoms, including pain, on the individual’s ability to work.
If you have cerebral palsy, then your RFC may be significantly impaired. For more information about how the SSA assesses the residual functional capacity, go to Social Security Ruling 96-8p.
PRESUMPTIVE DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY
Knowing that babies and children diagnosed with cerebral palsy often need financial help right away, the SSA grants immediate SSI benefits to children who are likely to be found medically eligible for benefits. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has severe difficulty speaking, coordinating hand and arm movements, or walking without braces, then your child probably qualifies for these immediate “presumptive disability” benefits.
If your child is an infant at an age not expected to speak or walk, his motor and communicative development will be assessed based on what is appropriate for that age. For more information, see our article on winning Childhood Cerebral Palsy SSI benefits for children.
WHAT RESEARCH IS BEING DONE TO CURE CEREBRAL PALSY?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (NINDS) are investigating the roles of accidents in early in brain development. This includes genetic defects, which are sometimes responsible for the brain malformations and abnormalities that can cause cerebral palsy.
Scientists are also looking at traumatic events in newborn babies’ brains, such as bleeding, epileptic seizures, and breathing and circulation problems. These events can cause the abnormal release of chemicals that trigger cerebral palsy damage.
Researchers also hope to find ways to prevent white matter disease, the most common cause of cerebral palsy. To make sure children are getting the right kinds of therapy, studies are also being done to evaluate new treatments, so that physicians and parents have valid information to help them choose the best therapy.
CANNON DISABILITY CAN HELP WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS IF YOU HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY
If you cannot work, your disability case will dictate the money you have for the future. You need to hire a law firm that care about your future benefits. Cannon Disability Law is one of the best disability firms in the country. We are one of the best Social Security Disability firms in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are from Nevada, then you can find Nevada Disability Information on this website.
The representatives at Cannon Disability Law are also members of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives. Learn more about Utah SSD benefits here. If you are from California, our website has California disability information. However, we can represent you no matter where you live.
LEGAL EXPERIENCE WINS BENEFITS
There are many important issues, like the residual functional capacity, that play a large role in whether you receive your disability benefits for cerebral palsy. You need a lawyer who understands those issues. You also need a representative who knows the law. Cannon Disability wants to be your legal team. Hire us for our experience. Over the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 disability claims.
Another important factor to consider is what it costs to hire an attorney. Cannon Disability is affordable. We work on a contingency fee basis only. That means you do not pay an attorney fee until we win your case. The attorney fee comes out of your back benefit. If we do not win your case, then there is no back benefit. Therefore, you will not owe us an attorney fee.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY WITH EXPERIENCE?
How much is the attorney fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. But, the fee is capped at $6000. You do not pay more than the cap of $6000. Please note, the fee cap is going up to $7200 in November 2022. You will pay either 25% of the back benefit or the $6000 cap. You pay whatever is the smaller amount.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. But the costs are usually less than $100. You must also pay to obtain a copy of your medical records. The cost of your medical records is whatever your doctor charges for them. You owe costs whether we win or lose your case. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay a fee upfront. However, you can’t do that because you don’t have a job. We understand. Which is why you only pay an attorney fee to us if we win your SSD and SSI case.
THE REPRESENTATIVES AT CANNON DISABILITY LAW
At Cannon Disability Law, we can help you apply for disability benefits for cerebral palsy. When you are ready to become our client, we will send you paperwork. You can also review some of our client paperwork on our Fee Agreement and Important Forms page.
In our office, we have specialists who will help you complete your application. Usually, we help you file your application online on Social Security’s website. If you receive a denial, then we can help you appeal it. Likewise, if your case is set for a hearing, then we represent you at your hearing before an ALJ.
One of the things we do is help you be a good witness at your hearing. We meet with your before the hearing. At the meeting, we talk about how to answer questions. We also let you know what kind of questions you will be asked. Learn more about a disability hearing here.
WE PRACTICE DISABILITY LAW EXCLUSIVELY
There are many law firms that claim they practice Social Security disability law. However, most of those firms do other types of cases. For example, some firms practice personal injury or Worker’s Compensation law. We don’t do that. Our firm only takes Social Security disability cases. We don’t practice any other kind of law.
Our firm believes it is important to focus on Social Security cases, because that is our specialty. If you want an example of how we don’t give up trying to win disability benefits for cerebral palsy, then read here.
It is hard to trust your future to a lawyer. We understand. That is why we include information about our attorneys on our website. Dianna Cannon has practiced disability law for the past 30 years. She has written a book about Social Security law. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers have over 30 years of combined legal experience. They work hard for our clients every day. We focus exclusively on disability law. Find out more about the representatives at Cannon Disability on About Us page.
HIRE A LAW FIRM WHO WILL FIGHT FOR YOUR BENEFITS
Our goal is to win your disability case for cerebral palsy. We do win cases prior to the hearing stage. However, we also win cases at the hearing level. If you do not win your case at the hearing, you can appeal. There are only a few appeal options.
For example, if the judge issues an unfavorable decision, then we can appeal your case to the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council denies review, then we can file an appeal in Federal Court. Hopefully, your case will never go that far. In order to fight government agency decisions you need a good lawyer. If you need help at any level of your case, then call us.
HOW TO PROVE YOU SHOULD WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS IF YOU HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY
Proving your residual functional capacity is only one element in your disability case. In order to win your disability case, you need to prove that you disability meets or equals an SSA listing. If you do not meet or equal a listing, your can try to win your case with the vocational expert. There are many complex Social Security laws. And, they all apply to each case.
However, we know your case is different than anyone else’s case. You may have cancer or back arthritis. Or, you may have a rare disease. Even if you don’t have a rare disease, your symptoms are stopping you from working. We know it is daunting. No one wants to face the SSA alone. Especially when you are not feeling your best and you don’t have a job.
EXPERIENCE WINS DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR CEREBRAL PALSY
The best thing about hiring us is we take care of your case. We have specialists who will help you apply for SSD and SSI benefits. If you need help filing out SSA’s paperwork, we will help you fill out the forms.
We help you collect your records. Also, we appeal any SSA denial. If your case is denied, then we request your hearing. Then, we prepare you for court. Preparation for court requires review of your records. But, it also requires preparing you to testify.
When you hire an attorney, you want one you can trust. You can trust the advocates at Cannon Disability Law. With our team approach and our years of expertise, you can trust us to fight for your benefits. We will also make sure to maximize your benefits, including workers’ compensation benefits. Give us a call. Put our experience to work for you. You can also contact Cannon Disability Law online and we will help you with your disability benefits case for cerebral palsy.