Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Vermont

If a doctor diagnoses you or a loved one with cerebral palsy, it is understandable that your reaction would be fearful. You may wonder how to treat the disorder, and how you are going to fund the treatments. This page's purpose is to give you that information. We will tell you what cerebral palsy is and where you can get treatment and other services in Vermont. We will give you information on funding to treat cerebral palsy and take you through the application for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration and the Vermont Agency of Human Services.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder due to damage in the brain. This damage can be due to a physical injury that affects the brain, or an infection. It often occurs in utero, for example, if the mother develops an infection that reaches the fetus. Oxygen deprivation, when it causes cerebral palsy, usually happens during a difficult and prolonged labor. Later in life, if cerebral palsy develops it will likely be due to an infection or a physical injury to the brain. There is no way to cure cerebral palsy, but treatment and services can help sufferers and family members get the most out of the situation. The disorder affects motor control, balance and the body's ability to maintain posture.

Seeking Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is not curable, which can be a frightening thought. However, there are treatment options and services that can help to make life more normal, to allow children and families to have a better quality of life and achieve their potential. Early intervention is the key to helping a sufferer of cerebral palsy live the fullest life that he or she can. Vermont has various treatment and service centers to help you coordinate care.

The University of Vermont Medical Center
Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics
1 South Prospect St
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 847-4696

The UVM Children's Hospital has pediatric specialists who give a specialized evaluation to children with developmental delays or neuro-developmental disabilities.

Vermont Achievement Center
88 Park St
Rutland, VT 05701
(802) 775-2395

An organization helping families thrive. They have programs for children with special needs, especially cerebral palsy, as well as programs for the entire family.

Programs for Children With Special Healthcare Needs
108 Cherry St, PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
(802) 863-7338

A division of the Department of Health, these programs can put families in touch with services throughout Vermont to assist them with their special needs child. Carol Hassler is the Director.

Financial Support for Cerebral Palsy

After you calculate for treatment costs and lost wages due to time taken off work to take care of the child with cerebral palsy, the affliction can cost a family $900,000 through a child's life. Other disabilities can come with cerebral palsy, making it difficult for the child to ever hold a job later in life. Vermont has resources available to help fund the coordinated services required to treat cerebral palsy. And keep in mind that you can always choose to hire an attorney to help you through the entire process. If the cerebral palsy was caused by mistakes made by healthcare providers, your attorney can go over your options to ease the financial burden on the family.

Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration provides benefits through two programs. One is called Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and is available for those who have paid into Social Security for at least ten years and accumulated sufficient work credits. Adults whose disability stems from before the age of 22 may also be eligible.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the other program. This is for low-income families or for people who have not worked before or not accumulated enough work credits for the SSDI program. A child of a low-income family may also qualify for SSI if he or she meets Social Security's definition of disabled. Vermont also has a program to supplement SSI.

Applying for Social Security Benefits

Visit your local Social Security office to apply, or call (800) 772-1213 to order a form by mail. You can also look at their website online. Though Social Security is a federal program, each state has an office that determines the validity of claims. Vermont's is:

Disability Determination Services
93 Pilgrim Park Rd, Ste 6
Waterbury, VT 05676
(802) 241-2463

You can appeal if your application is denied, and you can appeal several more times after that. The final solution may be to file suit in federal court. A good attorney can assist you if you need to file an appeal to make sure your family gets the relief it deserves. If you have to file a suit, an attorney will be absolutely necessary.