Cerebral Palsy – Overview
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurodevelopmental illness characterized by aberrant muscle tone, mobility, and motor skills. Thought to be caused by brain injury during development. The clinical characteristics of this entity change with time, and the specific CP syndrome may not be recognized until the age of 3-5 years, although suggestive signs and symptoms may be present earlier. The treatment entails neurological rehabilitation (correcting muscle tone irregularities and developing physical and occupational therapy), as well as the diagnosis and management of co-morbid conditions (including epilepsy, impairment of cognition, vision, hearing, and disturbances of growth and gastrointestinal function). Thus, management is interdisciplinary and entails collaboration between the treating physician and a team of rehabilitative, orthopedic, psychologic, and social care professionals.
Cerebral palsy signs and symptoms vary significantly between individuals. Cerebral palsy can affect the entire body or only one or two limbs or one side of the body. Generally speaking, indications and symptoms include difficulties with movement and coordination, speech and feeding, and development.
Coordination and movement
- Spasticity, the most prevalent movement disorder, is characterized by stiff muscles and excessive reflexes.
- Muscle tone variations, such as being overly stiff or too floppy
- Muscles that are stiff but have normal responses (rigidity)
- Instability and lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
- Tremors or uncontrollable jerking movements
- Movements that are slow and writhing
- Preference for one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or crawling with one leg dragged
- Walking difficulties, such as walking on your toes, a crouching stride, a scissors-like motion with crossed knees, a broad gait, or an asymmetrical gait
- Difficulty with fine motor abilities, including buttoning clothing and picking up utensils
Consumption and speech
- Delays in the development of speech
- Speaking difficulties Difficulties sucking, swallowing, or eating
- Drooling excessively or difficulty swallowing
- Delayed development of motor skills, such as sitting up or crawling
- Having issues with learning
- Disabilities intellectual’s
- Growth is delayed, resulting in a smaller size than projected
Brain damage can contribute to the development of further neurological issues, such as:
- Convulsions (epilepsy)
- Hearing impairment
- Vision problems and irregular eye motions
- Touch or pain sensations that are abnormal
- Constipation and urine incontinence are common bladder and bowel issues.
- Conditions of the mind, such as emotional disorders and behavioral difficulties
Medically Qualifying for Blue Book Benefits
When an applicant for disability benefits submits an application, his or her disorder is matched to the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book is a medical reference manual used to establish if an applicant is sufficiently unwell to qualify for benefits.
Children and adults are classified differently in the Blue Book. Cerebral palsy is classified as a neurological disorder under section 11.00 for adults and section 111.00 for children.
To be accepted as an adult with cerebral palsy, you must provide medical documentation that your cerebral palsy results in one of the following:
- A IQ of less than 70.
- Atypical behavioral patterns, such as those associated with emotional diseases
- Significant difficulty communicating verbally or visually
- Significant difficulty with two-limb motor function, resulting in persistent impairment of big motions, fine motor abilities, walking, and standing.
To be approved as a child with cerebral palsy, you must have medical evidence demonstrating that you have cerebral palsy with at least one of the following:
- Difficulty with motor function adequate for age involving two limbs, which interferes with age-appropriate major daily tasks and impairs large and fine movements, as well as the ability to walk and stand (despite prescribed therapy).
- Motor dysfunction that is less severe and one of the following:
- A IQ of less than 70
- A seizure disease manifested by at least one seizure in the preceding year
- A psychological disorder
- Difficulty communicating verbally, visually, or audibly.
Children often qualify for cerebral palsy more easily than adults do. If your child is granted for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will reevaluate him or her at the age of 18. Although the majority of children retain their benefits throughout adulthood, over 30% of children are refused benefits after reaching 18 due to tighter medical qualifying requirements.
Qualification Without Adherence to a Medical Listing
Not everyone with cerebral palsy, particularly adults, meets the Social Security Administration’s medical standards. This is not to say that you cannot receive disability payments if you have cerebral palsy.
If you can demonstrate that your cerebral palsy is severe enough that it prevents you from earning more than $1,130 in 2016, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. This can be accomplished by having your doctor complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
The Social Security Administration determines your RFC by analyzing your physical and intellectual disabilities and limits, as well as your educational and job history. If you are older and have limited schooling, you will have a better chance of being approved for disability benefits. Young persons with cerebral palsy who attended college are far more likely to be denied benefits than elderly adults with no education and who have been unable to work their entire lives.
Cerebral palsy affects numerous body systems and can result in symptoms that make it difficult to work, such as an inability to walk or stand effectively or at all, muscle stiffness, balance and coordination problems, involuntary movements, pain, intellectual disabilities, seizures, vision, speech, hearing, and communication problems, and emotional instability.
Adults with cerebral palsy who have worked exclusively in construction, retail, or food service will also result in being more likely to qualify for disability. Even sedentary activities, such as typing, frequently demand fine motor abilities, so it ultimately depends on how your cerebral palsy affects you.
How to Apply for Disability Benefits from Social Security
Consult your physician prior to filing for disability benefits. Your doctor can review your medical data and evaluate whether or not it is worthwhile to begin the application procedure. The application process might take months or even years, particularly if you need to appeal a denied claim. If your cerebral palsy is not severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be able to save yourself and your family a great deal of emotional distress.
If you fulfill a Blue Book requirement or believe that an RFC approval is possible, the key to expeditious approval is to include all of the medical information required by the SSA. Many of the 70% of applicants who are denied are denied due to a lack of critical proof regarding their illness.
Important medical evidence supporting a diagnosis of cerebral palsy will include the following:
- Ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and other types of medical imaging
- Seizures, hearing loss, blindness, or other congenital abnormalities
- Tests of the blood
- Detailed reports from physicians, psychologists, and physical therapists
- If appropriate, an examination of the development of motor skills from childhood to maturity
- Tests of intelligence
- Hospitalizations and procedures for cerebral palsy
Ensure that you check the SSA’s website for a list of all required documents and that your application is complete. Adult Disability Starter Kits and Child Disability Starter Kits are available through the Social Security Administration. These tips will assist families in determining the specific papers required to qualify for benefits.
When completing the application, whether online or in person at your local SSA office, be sure to thoroughly answer all questions about your cerebral palsy or that of your child. Numerous applications are declined owing to a lack of medical evidence or an application error.
If your cerebral palsy application is denied, you may always challenge the judgment in court. Bear in mind that while applying on behalf of a kid, the income of the parents will be considered. This means that if your income is too high, your child will be ineligible for disability benefits until the age of 18, regardless of the severity of his or her cerebral palsy.
With medical documentation to back up your claim, you should receive disability payments within a few months.