Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Maryland

A diagnosis of cerebral palsy can be confusing and worrisome for any parent. You may not know where to seek treatment or how you will pay to make sure your child lives up to his or her fullest potential. It's natural to wonder what your child's future will look like and how your family will tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

Knowing what to expect and what resources are available in your community can help you plan. Here, you'll learn what cerebral palsy is, how you can seek treatment in Maryland, and what financial resources exist to help you, namely in the form of Social Security benefits.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a name for a group of neurological disorders that can affect a person's ability to move effectively and maintain posture and balance. It can affect a child's coordination, muscle tone, and more. It often results from neurological damage or abnormal brain development in utero. Many children are born with cerebral palsy, but the symptoms may not manifest until the first few months of life or even as late as preschool. Cerebral palsy can be caused by untreated maternal infections, hypoxia, or as the result of a traumatic labor or delivery.

Treating Cerebral Palsy in Maryland

When you first hear of a cerebral palsy diagnosis, you may be fearful about your child's future and how he or she may function as an adult. It's normal to experience confusion, worry, and even anger about what your child must endure as the result of this condition. Knowing that quality treatment options exist in your neighborhood can help you connect to local resources and ensure your child lives the best life possible.

Cerebral palsy is not curable, but early, frequent, and intense interventions are essential to help your child achieve the best outcomes. Fortunately, many different treatment centers exist in Maryland that give children with cerebral palsy a chance to flourish.

University of Maryland Medical Center
22 S. Greene Street
5th floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 328-5887

With a dedicated Children's Hospital on campus and outpatient therapy locations all over the metro area, UMMC is a one-stop shop for surgical intervention as well as essential speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

Kennedy Krieger Institute
1750 E. Fairmount Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21231
(888) 554-2080

Serving the metro Baltimore and Columbia areas, the Kennedy Krieger Institute offers outpatient rehabilitation services as well as other essential therapies like behavioral intervention and treatment for co-occurring conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Johns Hopkins
1800 Orleans St,
Baltimore, MD 21287
(410) 955-7337

As one of the most famous hospitals in the country, this system has outpatient therapy services all over Maryland. It also has a dedicated pediatric neurosurgery department, that patients with cerebral palsy travel to from all over the world. As a pioneer in minimally invasive treatment, this is an excellent treatment option in your own backyard.

Financing Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Several world-class treatment options for cerebral palsy exist throughout Maryland; however, many parents wonder how they will pay for their child's treatment. The cost of raising a child with cerebral palsy can be very expensive; some research from the Center for Disease Control suggests it can be nearly a million dollars. It's common for cerebral palsy to occur with other conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual disability, and speech and vision problems, which can compound the cost of treatment.

Thankfully, parents have options for financial assistance, namely in the form of social security benefits. While parents can apply for these on their own with a universal application, it often helps to have an attorney assist with the process.

Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows for two different types of benefits for children with a qualifying disability such as cerebral palsy. Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits are typically for those who have been in the workforce for at least 10 years and accumulate enough work credits to qualify. However, people who incur disability before the age of 22 may also apply for these benefits.

For certain families, Social Security Income (SSI) may also be an option. SSI benefits apply to low-income adults and children who do not have sufficient work credits to have SSDI. Children with a qualifying disability such as cerebral palsy may qualify if their parents meet the income limits. Additionally, children must meet the criteria for disability, which means proving that a child has a condition that affects daily functioning for 12 months or more.

Applying for Social Security Benefits

Many children with cerebral palsy qualify for SSDI or SSI. The first step is to fill out an application, which you can do online or by visiting your local Social Security Office. In general, the Social Security Administration's starter kit for children provides essential information about qualifying disabilities, income limits for SSI, work credits, and the documentation you need to complete an application.

Social Security is a federal benefit program, but all states have their own decision-making authority that makes the final determination on each application. In Maryland, the disability determination office is at:

Disability Determination Services
170 W Ridgely Rd # 310
Lutherville, MD 21093