Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Florida

When a Florida family receives a diagnosis that a loved one has cerebral palsy, many questions follow. Two of the most crucial are usually "Where do we find treatment?" and "How do we pay for treatment?" These are normal and reasonable questions to ask, and this page exists to help Florida families locate treatment services in their area as well as help with securing financial assistance for the economic impact of a cerebral palsy diagnosis.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition resulting from brain damage that can entail an unpredictable and varied range of symptoms. Many children born with cerebral palsy also develop secondary conditions that can significantly impact their physical, behavioral, and intellectual development. Cerebral palsy stems from brain damage sustained before, during, or shortly after birth. Some of the most common causes include prenatal infection and toxic exposure, medical negligence during delivery, and traumatic brain injuries sustained in the newborn phase from falls and vehicle accidents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate the total economic cost of treating a child born with cerebral palsy can approach $1 million throughout his or her lifetime. Cerebral palsy affects every child differently; some experience more intellectual and developmental issues while others struggle with physical limitations and motor skill deficiencies. Many children with cerebral palsy contend with both and suffer from one or more associated conditions like epilepsy and autism. Finding specialized care for cerebral palsy and potential secondary conditions is challenging for many Florida families.

Finding Cerebral Palsy Treatment in Florida

Fortunately, several reputable treatment centers in Florida specialize in cerebral palsy treatment. Several support services also exist for adaptive therapy and other therapeutic treatments that can improve the quality of life and independence of people with cerebral palsy in Florida.

United Cerebral Palsy
1825 K Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC, 2006

United Cerebral Palsy has the reputation as one of the leading cerebral palsy treatment providers in the country, with offices and affiliates nationwide. They help more than 176,000 children and adults with cerebral palsy every day and help connect clients to 64 affiliate services, offering a wide range of support services and therapies. Their mission is to help revolutionize disability care and create opportunities for individuals living with disabilities. There are United Cerebral Palsy offices in Tampa, Miami, Tallahassee, Orlando, and several other locations throughout Florida.

United Community Options
2700 W. 81st Street
Hialeah, FL 33016
(305) 325-1080

United Community Options of South Florida is the former United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida branch, and remains a United Cerebral Palsy affiliate. They have more than 60 locations in Miami Dade, Broward, Mid-Coast, and Palm Beach counties. Their mission is to help children and adults with disabilities realize their full potential and live productive lives with a wide range of treatment, support, education, and family services.

Capstone Adaptive Therapy & Learning Centers, Inc.
2912 North E. St.
Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 432-1596

This care provider in Northern Florida has operated since 1953, offering a wide variety of rehabilitative treatments and support services to children struggling with disabilities. They offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, and operate the Capstone Academy, a charter school for children from birth to five years old that incorporates disability treatment with early education.

The parents of a child born with cerebral palsy may need special care for a secondary condition like severe epilepsy or autism, physical therapies like strength training and occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy for cognitive impairments and developmental delays. Paying for and arranging this treatment can be even more challenging than finding the right treatment in the first place. Many parents must stop working to provide in-home care for their children with severe cerebral palsy symptoms or profound cognitive impairment. Fortunately, Social Security benefits may provide some financial relief to families in this position.

Disability Benefits for Cerebral Palsy

The Social Security Administration offers benefits to families struggling with cerebral palsy in two forms. Adults who have paid into Social Security through employment for ten years or longer or who meet the necessary work credit requirements can qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Some adults under the age of 22 who develop disabilities from cerebral palsy may also qualify for SSDI. Lower-income families that meet the Social Security Administration's income requirements may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead. Navigating the application process and any necessary appeals or additional claims can be challenging, and a cerebral palsy benefits lawyer could be a very helpful asset for families in this situation.

Applying for Social Security Benefits in Florida

You can find some of the forms you need for your Social Security benefits application online, and there is a starter guide for child disability benefits available online as well. If you prefer to visit a Social Security office in person to meet with an agent and start your application, there are more than a dozen U.S. Social Security Administration offices in Florida.

  • Panama City
  • Orlando
  • Lakeland
  • Kissimmee
  • Dade City
  • St. Petersburg
  • Gainesville

These are just a few of the Social Security offices in Florida; you can also search by your zip code online to find the office closest to you. A cerebral palsy benefits attorney can help you navigate the application process, gather the documentation you need with your application, and explore any available avenues for legal recourse if medical negligence caused your child to develop cerebral palsy.