Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Washington

A diagnosis of cerebral palsy is a momentous change to the life of you or your loved one. It is a life that will be forever altered, or a new life that will not be as was imagined. It is completely normal to feel fear and denial, but this page will help you get started on putting the pieces together. If you are feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of expensive treatments, take heart. There is help for those who have cerebral palsy and the people who take care of them. We will explain to you what cerebral palsy is and where you can go for treatment and other necessary services. We will cover the important topic of financial support and get you started on applying for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of the brain that happens after the brain sustains damage of some kind. This damage can be caused by an infection, by lack of oxygen for a period of time or by a physical injury. When it occurs in utero, the cause usually proves to be either an infection that the mother had, or a lack of oxygen during labor. When it occurs later in life, it can be the result of a brain injury or, as with the fetus, an infection. Affected individuals will lack motor control and muscle tone that a healthy individual has. They will have trouble maintaining their balance and posture.

Seeking Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

Washington state has a number of treatment centers and service coordinators who can help an individual with cerebral palsy, as well as his or her caregiver. Early intervention is important in improving the lives of those affected by cerebral palsy. It is a condition that never goes away, but the right care plan can improve the impact.

Seattle Children's Hospital
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 987-2000

A children's hospital engaging in research as well as patient care and therapy. They provide diagnosis and treatment for cerebral palsy, as well as education services and have a network of service providers.

United Cerebral Palsy
2638 State Ave NE
Olympia, WA 98506
(360) 357-5596

UCP is an advocacy group that also works to provide services for children and families with cerebral palsy. They are constantly striving to improve support service systems.

Boyer Children's Clinic
7821 62nd Ave NE, Ste 202
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 325-8477

Boyer offers many kinds of services. They provide therapy as well as education. They have support groups for individuals and couples and many resources for cerebral palsy.

Children's Therapy Center
8717 S Hosner St
Tacoma, WA 98444
(253) 531-8873

CTC is the largest nonprofit therapy program in Washington state. They provide physical, occupational and speech therapy and early intervention services to over 3,000 children a year. They also provide parent education and support.

Innovative Services NW
9414 Fourth Plain Rd
Vancouver, WA 98662
(360) 823-5147

Therapists who work with children and young adults up to age 20 with all kinds of disabilities, including cerebral palsy.

Financial Support for Cerebral Palsy

Washington provides financial support for those going through the burden of cerebral palsy. This burden can be immense; the CDC estimates that it can cost up to $900,000 in treatments and lost wages. In addition, many who have cerebral palsy will never be able to work. Attorneys can also play an important role, helping you to navigate the system more efficiently. They can also explain your options if you feel the cerebral palsy was the result of medical malpractice.

Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) program can give financial help to those who have paid into the system for at least ten years and earned sufficient work credits. An adult who became disabled before the age of 22 may also be eligible.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available for low-income families or for those who have not earned enough work credits. A child who meets Social Security's definition of disabled and lives in a low-income family may also be eligible for SSI benefits. Some who qualify for SSI in the state of Washington can get the State Supplemental Payment to help out even more.

Applying for Social Security Benefits

In order to apply for disability benefits, you can visit your local Social Security office or call (800) 772-1213 to ask for a form in the mail. Individual states have their own department for determining the validity of a disability claim. Washington's department is:

Disability Determination Services
PO Box 9303-MS-45550
Olympia, WA 98507
(360) 664-7500

If they deny your application, you have several appeals you may use to argue your case. An experienced lawyer will be a great asset if this happens. Ultimately, you may need to file a suit in federal court to win the benefits you deserve.