Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that can lead to severe complications over time. If you have a child or a loved one with cerebral palsy in Pennsylvania, you are likely concerned with what treatments you need to provide to keep him or her happy and healthy.

You may also wonder what the options are to help pay for the therapies and treatment your child will need. This list of Pennsylvania resources for families looking for cerebral palsy treatment can help you begin to develop a healthcare plan.

First, we will discuss the basics of cerebral palsy and its range of complications. Next, we will discuss which Pennsylvania hospitals and treatment centers are available for cerebral palsy care. Finally, we will walk you through the process of applying for financial assistance for cerebral palsy treatment in Pennsylvania.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by brain damage that lasts throughout a person's life. The condition does not have a cure, but medical professionals can treat and alleviate its symptoms. People with cerebral palsy often have issues with mobility, muscle tone, and motor skills.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy range in severity. Most people experience mobility issues and require assistive devices, such as wheelchairs. More severe symptoms include deafness, difficulty eating, seizures, tooth decay, and behavior problems.

Doctors prescribe treatment for cerebral palsy based on the individual needs of each person. If your child experiences mobility issues, your doctor may require physical therapy and mobility equipment. Your child may need medication, feeding tubes, and corrective surgeries to relieve other issues. Some cases require around-the-clock care and you may need to hire a live-in nurse.

Where to Seek Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

Your child can receive treatment for cerebral palsy at many hospitals and clinics throughout Pennsylvania. These facilities can provide the expert care that your child needs for lifelong success.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
3401 Civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(800) 879-2467

The Cerebral Palsy Program is an outpatient, weekly clinic initiative that allows children to receive therapies, medications, and other holistic treatment options for cerebral palsy. The program offers interdisciplinary and collaborative services between multiple pediatric experts.

Penn State Health Children's Hospital
600 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 531-3828

This program allows for children with cerebral palsy to receive an excellent level of care from specialists across the hospital. Patients receive multidisciplinary care from many pediatric experts, including corrective surgery, physical therapy, nutrition advice, and medication.

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children's Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
(412) 692-5325

This program provides coordinated and comprehensive pediatric services to children and infants with cerebral palsy. The program brings together multiple experts from the UPMC hospital, including social workers, surgeons, physical therapists, and speech pathologists. The hospital aims to develop an individualized treatment plan for each child.

Social Security Benefits for Cerebral Palsy

Treatment costs for cerebral palsy can be incredibly high, especially when you calculate them throughout your child's life. Experts estimate that lifetime costs can far exceed $900,000, and increase depending on the severity of your child's condition. However, the Social Security Administration offers two avenues for financial assistance:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program is based on payroll taxes and helps fund the expenses of disabled people who cannot work. If you or your child has a decade's worth of social security payments and accumulated work credits, you can receive this benefit.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program provides benefits to low-income families with children who meet the definition for disabled. According to Social Security, a disabled child must have "marked and severe functional limitations" for at least one year.

Some families can qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits. Many SSDI applications receive a denial, but you can appeal the decision with the help of an attorney within 60 days. If the payments your child receives are not sufficient, you can receive Pennsylvania supplemental payments if your child qualifies for SSI.

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits in Pennsylvania

In the state of Pennsylvania, you have three main options for filing an application for disability benefits.

In addition to filing an application, you and your child will need to attend an assessment at your local Social Security office under the Division of Disability Determination. You can visit the Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination website to learn more about the application process. You can also call the Bureau directly at (800) 932-0701.

Seeking financial assistance for cerebral palsy can be complicated and frustrating. A social security benefits attorney has the experience and resources necessary to guide you through this process.