Cerebral palsy can be a great expense to families, particularly those who don’t have access to adequate insurance or the funds to get all of the supplies needed. Yet, the government offers numerous forms of assistance that can help and your child live more qualities lives and cover medical expenses.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a form of financial assistance for people with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, provided by the government. SSI is different than other forms of financial assistance from the government in that it’s funded by the United States Treasury. This, however, allows recipients to receive SSI fund without conditions of having to have any work credits beforehand.
Yet, there are also drawbacks to SSI that are important to be aware of. For instance, although recipients aren’t required to have work credits, the amount of compensation allowed each month tends to be lower than other forms of government financial assistance.
In order to qualify for SSI, you must be a legal resident of the United States, and your child must demonstrate their disabilities, whether it mental, physical or both. Furthermore, you must also provide medical documentation regarding your child’s cerebral palsy and you must have only a limited amount of assets and funds.
For an application to SSI, contact your local social security office. If you would rather have the application mailed, call the social security office directly at 800-772-1213.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are disability payments for individuals who are unable gainfully work because of physical and.or mental limitations. Unlike SSI, SSDI is funded by payroll taxes of people who work in the nation.
SSDI can be a permanently monthly benefit or a permanent one, and although cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition, it doesn’t always mean that SSDI will be permanent. This is mainly due to the fact that there are many children with cerebral palsy who will grow up and eventually find employment.
To qualify for SSDI, the applicant must show proof of mental and/or physical disability that has lasted at least one year, show that the parent or parents (if applying for a child) have had employment within the last 10 years in which social security taxes were taken out, and provide proof that there are no current training programs (for adult applicants) in which the applicant qualifies for.
To apply for SSDI, visit your local social security office or call 800-772-1213 to have an application mailed to you. Keep in mind that you’ll need to show proof of residence, your child’s birth certificate, past medical bills, and the names of numbers of any physicians that can help prove your child’s disability.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a grant program that provides temporary compensation for families in need. Although a child with cerebral palsy isn’t a requirement to qualify, TANF can certainly help families with children with disabilities, as long as certain guidelines are met, including:
- Unemployed but seeking employment
- Participation in job training
- Actively seek employment
- Meet income guidelines (how much you money you have)
Keep in mind that each state has its own set of requirements which must be satisfied before TANF is granted. The aforementioned guidelines, as well as additional ones, may be required.
How much assistance you and your family may be entitled to and for how long will also vary from state to state. For example, some states only allow recipients to receive TANF a few years, whereas another state may allow four or more years. Furthermore, the amount you may be entitled to in one state may differ from the amount you are entitled to in another state.
You can apply for TANF at your city’s health department or at the Department of Social Services, which may be known as the Department of Family and Children’s Services or Department of Human Services.
Lawsuits and Financial Assistance
If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by the negligence of medical professionals, you have the legal right to file for damages against the responsible party.
Medical negligence can occur in many different ways, but the most common reasons that medical mistakes lead to a child developing cerebral palsy include:
- Failure to schedule and carry out an emergency C-section in time
- Improper use of birth-assisting tools during delivery, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool
- Failure to detect, diagnose, and treat infant jaundice
- Failure to detect, diagnose, and treat low blood sugar
- Failure to detect, diagnose, and treat maternal preeclampsia
- Administering too much medication or the wrong kind of medication during delivery
- Failure to monitor fetal distress and infant heart rate
If medical negligence is proven, parents or guardians of the child with cerebral palsy can receive financial compensation to help care for the child’s medical needs, including past expenses, as well as the expected cost of future expenses.
Some states also allow punitive damages if you’re cerebral palsy lawsuit is successful. Punitive damages award the plaintiff compensation in addition to the actual damages, in order to pay for things such as physical pain and suffering, emotional stress, and more.
Aging and Disability Resource Assistance
While the Aging and Disability Resources Centers (ADRC) will not help your child until he/she is an adult, it’s a great organization for elderly adults as well as people over 18 years of age who live with cerebral palsy.
ADRC provides assistance in helping people with cerebral palsy with financial assistance, as well as:
- Financial planning and assistance
- Legal help
- Job training and job search assistance
- Housing assistance
- Medical and dental assistance
- Prescription medication coverage
- Mental health counseling services
- Home care assistance, and more
Each states has its own set of assistance options when helping adults with cerebral palsy. For more information use the ADRC state locator tool to be taken to your state’s organization.