Disability Benefits for Cerebral Palsy

About Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect body movement, posture and muscle tone. It is the most common movement disorder among children in the world. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage done to the brain during pregnancy or the first few years of life. There is no cure. However, medication, therapy, treatments, and surgery can help improve one’s life. Receiving Social Security Disability benefits for cerebral palsy is based on the Blue Book and is discussed in detail below.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

The symptoms and severity of cerebral palsy vary greatly among cases. Some individuals will experience symptoms that others with CP may not. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include but are not limited to:

  • Coordination problems
  • Difficulty with movement
  • Difficulty walking (abnormal gait)
  • Involuntary movement
  • Paralysis
  • Rigid or “floppy” limbs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Speech disorders
  • Slow growth
  • Stiff muscles
  • Stuttering
  • Teeth grinding

Disability for Cerebral Palsy

There is a guide known as “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security” or the Blue Book in which informs the public how the SSA determines whether or not an applicant’s condition is severe enough to qualify for benefits. The Blue Book is divided into two parts, Part A (Adult Listings) and Part B (Childhood Listings). As one would guess, Part A is used to evaluate Adults while Part B is used to evaluate children under the age of 18.

The difference between the adult and childhood listings can be quite significant, especially for cerebral palsy. If a 17 year old on SSI for cerebral palsy plans on reapplying for disability benefits when he or she turns 18, it is important to understand the differences between them. Just because someone qualified for disability benefits as child, doesn’t mean they will necessary qualify as an adult.

Cerebral palsy is evaluated under section 11.07 for adults and section 111.07 for children under the age of 18.

Childhood Listing: 111.07 Cerebral Palsy

A child must meet requirements A or B.

A.) Applicant has motor dysfunction that meets listing 101.02 or 111.06:

101.02 – Applicant has major joint dysfunction involving one major peripheral joint causing the inability to ambulate correctly or one major peripheral joint in each upper extremity in which disturbs fine and gross movements.

111.06 – Applicant has continuous disorganization of motor function in at least two extremities (such as hands or feet) that disturb important everyday activities for his or her age as well as gait and station or fine and gross movements.

B.) Applicant has less severe motor dysfunction (not meeting requirement A but is still there) and at least one of the following:

1.) An IQ score of 70 or less

2.) Seizure disorder with at least one serious motor seizure in the past year (from the date the application was submitted)

3.) Significant communication interference caused by a hearing, speech or visual problem

4.) A severe emotional disorder

Adult Listing 11.07 Cerebral Palsy

An applicant must have at least one of the following:

A.) An IQ score of 70 or less

B.) Unusual behavior patterns that interfere with activities of daily living and employment

C.) Communication must be significantly limited due to a hearing, speech or visual complication

D.) Constant disorganization of motor function in at least two extremities (such as a hand or foot) in which leads to severe disturbance of gait and station or fine and gross dexterous movements


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