The Centers for Disease Control or CDC defines the condition known as Cerebral Palsy, or CP, as “a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.” It is the most common motor disability for children and it is caused by damage to a developing brain or as a part of abnormal brain development.
The symptoms of CP are going to vary quite widely between individuals with the issue, and while some experience only the mildest symptoms of CP, others have extreme disabilities that leave them unable to live independently and in need of constant care or support. There are some universal symptoms of CP, including difficulties with movement and posture. Some with CP may have seizures, vision or hearing issues, speech problems, scoliosis, intellectual disability and problems with the joints.
It is a permanent condition, though some of its symptoms can be treated. However, not everyone with CP is considered disabled or will qualify for SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance.
SSDI, by design, is meant to provide income for those who are unable to work because of a developmental or physical disability. Benefits can be permanent or temporary and are based entirely on the individual’s needs.
Because CP is a disease that manifests in childhood, any SSDI benefits will be based on a parent’s record of working and paying into the fund. There is also SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income available to those who qualify as disabled due to their CP.
The laws around qualifying for SSDI with CP are quite clear. Those who become disabled before the age of 22 often qualify for SSDI immediately. The Blue Book qualifications for CP vary for adults and children. Adults need an IQ of 70 or less, abnormal behavior patterns, difficulty with communication, and difficulty with motor function in two limbs. Children have similar criteria, and the deciding factor is that they must have difficulty with motor function for their age (involving two limbs), and which makes it difficult to do daily activities.
It is easier for children to qualify than adults, and a review at the age of 18 is done to confirm the status of the CP.
Naturally, not everyone with CP meets the medical criteria, but that does not mean they cannot get support. There is always the RFC, which is the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation. This is a form that a treating doctor can help you complete and which measures your intellectual and physical limitations and disabilities. It looks at your work history (if you are an adult) as well as your education and capabilities. It indicates what your symptoms allow you to do and what they prevent. The goal is to obtain a Medical Vocational Allowance that is an alternative to SSDI benefits.