Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Rhode Island

If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you may wonder what treatments he or she needs to feel comfortable and be healthy. Your next concern may be how you will afford to pay for the lifelong treatments and therapies your child will require. Many Rhode Island families experience these same concerns. We have created a short guide to both treatment and financial resources available for cerebral palsy care in Rhode Island.

First, we will discuss what cerebral palsy is and the different symptoms it can entail. Next, we will list places where you can seek treatment for cerebral palsy throughout Rhode Island. Finally, we will talk about your financial assistance options and how to apply for these benefits with your local agencies.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition that leads to lifelong issues with mobility, muscle tone, and motor skills. While the condition does not worsen over time, no cure for cerebral palsy exists and doctors base treatment on managing symptoms. Cerebral palsy injuries occur during birth, before birth, and in early childhood. Lack of oxygen to the brain, untreated jaundice, and stroke can all cause cerebral palsy.

Most people with cerebral palsy experience issues with mobility. However, symptoms vary based on each person. Some people experience issues with movement, but no further damage. Other people experience severe learning and behavior disabilities, as well as tooth decay, speech issues, and osteoporosis.

Based on the circumstances of your child's case, you may have to seek the following treatments to improve his or her quality of life:

  • Mobility assistance equipment
  • Corrective surgeries
  • Special diets to increase bone strength
  • Feeding tubes and devices
  • Therapies for speech, movement, emotional development, and more
Where to Seek Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

Although Rhode Island is a small state, many hospitals and clinics can provide long-term cerebral palsy care. These facilities can examine your child's symptoms and provide treatment plans to boost lifelong health and comfort.

Lifespan Children's Rehabilitation Services
Various locations
(401) 444-3500

These programs provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to children with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions throughout Rhode Island. Lifespan offers physical therapy, speech pathology, pain consultation, and audiology therapies for children to improve their physical function and skills.

Care New England Outpatient Rehabilitation
111 Brewster Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860
(401) 729-2004

Operated by Kent Hospitals, this facility provides multiple pediatric therapy services for children with cerebral palsy and other conditions, such as autism, Down syndrome, and orthopedic conditions. Care New England provides multiple therapy and medical services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

United Cerebral Palsy of Rhode Island
200 Main St #210
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860
(401) 728-1800

This program provides support, community activities, skills training, and other resources for people with cerebral palsy. UCP Rhode Island provides services for both adults and children, focusing on developing skills for lifelong success.

Social Security Benefits for Cerebral Palsy

Facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cerebral palsy treatment costs can be a daunting burden. You want your child to lead a happy life, but very few families can pay these costs out-of-pocket. In addition, your child's medical needs may increase due to new treatments, medical emergencies, and the need to replace mobility equipment. Social Security offers two pathways to seek disability benefits for families of children with cerebral palsy.

  • If you or your child have 10 years' worth of social security payments and have accumulated enough work credit, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program is based on payroll taxes.
  • If your family is low-income and your child meets Social Security's definition of disabled, you can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify for this program, your child needs to have a disability for at least a year that causes "marked and severe functional limitations."

Depending on your situation, your child can qualify for both SSDI and SSI payments. Sometimes, the amount you receive is not sufficient to cover all treatment costs. In these situations and if you qualify for SSI, you can receive a state supplemental payment from Rhode Island.

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, you can apply for disability benefits through one of three avenues:

Both SSDI and SSI applications are subject to a medical evaluation. You and your child will need to visit a Rhode Island Disability Determination Agency to receive this assessment. Rhode Island has agencies in Providence, Warwick, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and Newport.

If you need assistance seeking social security disability benefits for your child with cerebral palsy, it may prove helpful to seek out an attorney with experience in this area.