Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Minnesota

Over 17 million people worldwide are currently living with cerebral palsy. If your child has cerebral palsy, your family is not alone. Minnesota has several treatment centers and hospitals that specialize in care for cerebral palsy patients.

If you are worried about the cost of medical care, consider applying for a federal or state financial assistance program. Start here for answers to your most pressing questions about cerebral palsy treatments, disability benefits, and important local information.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a brain development disorder. It can occur because of brain injuries an infant sustains during fetal development, either before birth, during delivery or shortly after birth. Children with cerebral palsy may exhibit symptoms such as developmental delays, cognitive difficulties, trouble with coordination and balance, and uncontrollable muscle movements. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong, incurable condition, but it will not grow worse over time. It can, however, come with health complications that contribute to premature aging.

Is Cerebral Palsy Treatable?

Yes, treatments are available for people with cerebral palsy. Treatments such as surgeries or therapies can enhance mobility and help children with cerebral palsy live more independent and fulfilling lives. Surgeries may be necessary for children with severe muscle spasticity. Surgery can release the muscles and improve mobility. More common treatments include numerous types of therapies:

  • Physical
  • Occupational
  • Recreational
  • Speech
  • Behavioral
  • Music
  • Hippotherapy
  • Intensive suit therapy

Specialized therapies can help a child improve balance and muscle strength, as well as communication and social skills. Most children with cerebral palsy use therapies throughout their lives. Other treatments may include medications to manage pain and treatments for codependent health issues, such as epilepsy or eye problems. A child with cerebral palsy typically needs a team of healthcare providers, including pediatricians, therapists, neurologists, and physiatrists.

Where to Find Cerebral Palsy Treatment in Minnesota

It is natural to want the best possible medical care for your child. The level of care your child receives early on can determine his or her health outcomes, as well as quality of life. Children with cerebral palsy require specialized treatments at centers that focus specifically on this condition. Luckily, Minnesota has multiple places that specialize in cerebral palsy treatment and research.

United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota
200 University Ave East
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 265-7361

UCP of Minnesota provides support services, education, and advocacy for people with disabilities. It hosts fundraising events for children with cerebral palsy, and provides numerous local resources to families. It also has technologically advanced treatments and therapies available for children with this condition.

Twin Cities Shriners Hospital for Children
2025 E River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 596-6100

The Minneapolis Shriners Hospital for Children has an expert orthopedic staff and other experienced professionals who can help treat cerebral palsy. It has helped children with disabilities and unique medical needs since 1923.

University of Minnesota Medical Center
2450 Riverside Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 273-8383

Families can receive cerebral palsy treatment at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Their children's care facility ranked in five specialties in the 2018-2019 U.S. News Best Children's Hospitals category. Parents can find a range of health care services geared toward kids with cerebral palsy at this medical center.

How to Apply for Federal Disability Benefits

Two federal disability relief programs may help families of children with cerebral palsy: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI benefits are appropriate for adults 18 and older with disabilities and who have worked enough to have collected "work credits." SSDI benefits can help cover medical costs and the costs of daily living. SSI benefits are need-based according to income. You must have less than $2,000 in assets and limited income to qualify for SSI.

SSI is a better option for people whose disabilities prevent them from working at all, or enough to earn a living. Applying for disability benefits takes contacting the Social Security Administration, either through its website, by calling (800) 772-1213, or by visiting a local office in Minnesota. Parents looking for financial relief for children under 18 with cerebral palsy can benefit from the SSI Child Disability Starter Kit. This resource answers common questions about applying for SSI benefits.

Local Disability Benefits

The state of Minnesota also has resources in place for families raising children with disabilities. These range from offices that help families apply for federal services to statewide programs that may provide additional financial benefits. The following list provides places that may help you on your journey toward disability benefits in Minnesota.

Minnesota Disability Determination Services
85 7th Place East, Ste. 160
Saint Paul, MN 55101
(651) 259-7700

Every state has a Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, where residents can receive evaluations for disability benefits claims involving the Social Security Administration. The DDS can help you determine whether your child is eligible for SSI or SSDI benefits. The state agency operates through the Minnesota Department of Economic Security.

Office of Disability Adjudication & Review
250 Marquette Avenue, Ste. 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(877) 512-3856

Families in Minnesota may also end up at the local Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR) if the Social Security Administration denies the initial request for benefits. You can file an appeal of the decision and may have to attend a hearing at ODAR in Minneapolis regarding your case.

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services
332 Minnesota Street, Ste. E200
Saint Paul, MN 55101
(651) 259-7114

For help with finding jobs for individuals with disabilities, families can attend counseling, training, and workshops for adolescents and adults with special needs through Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Minnesota.