Emily noticed her son Noah’s developmental challenges when he was about three months old. His pediatrician told her he had mixed cerebral palsy, and she immediately began treatments that would maximize his abilities. However, as a young adult Noah was unable to work enough to become fully independent. Emily began looking into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Would Noah’s cerebral palsy qualify for SSDI? Let’s look at SSDI eligibility and how the Social Security Administration (Social Security) makes its determinations.
How Does Someone Qualify for SSDI?
First, Social Security requires that you be unable to work because of a disabling condition and that you have enough work credits.
To be considered a disability, a condition must:
- Prevent you from doing any substantial gainful activity, and
- Be expected to result in death, or
- Has lasted for at least 12 months or is expected to last for at least 12 months.
Social Security also refers to its Listing of Impairments (the “Listing”). This comprehensive list of mental and physical disorders describes how Social Security will assess conditions that could potentially be considered a disability.
People can earn up to four work credits per year. Social Security has a sliding scale that shows how many work credits someone needs to qualify for SSDI.
Is Cerebral Palsy Considered a Disability for SSDI Purposes?
That may depend on the type of cerebral palsy and the severity of symptoms. So, cerebral palsy falls under section 11.00 Neurological – Adult. For example, Social Security will want to see the following:
- Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in extreme limitation.
- Marked limitation in physical function and in several other areas like cognitive abilities and interactions with others.
- Significant problems communicating because of speech, hearing, or visual deficits.
Social Security will require medical and non-medical proof of physical or mental disability.
Will Noah Qualify for SSDI?
Under Social Security’s criteria, Noah could be considered disabled since his disability began at birth and is incurable. However, many people with cerebral palsy are able to go to school and engage in substantial gainful activity. Social Security would require medical and non-medical evidence to prove Noah’s condition is a disability.
As for work credits, Noah has never worked. However, adults who were disabled before age 22 can receive SSDI based on their parents’ work histories. Noah’s mom and dad had both worked full-time for his entire lifetime. As such, they had amassed enough work credits for Noah to qualify for SSDI.
Cerebral Palsy Might Qualify for SSDI, but First You Have to Apply
The application process is difficult and complicated. In fact, many first-time claims are denied. It helps to have someone in your corner who understands the system. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have the experience and ability to take on your case. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients throughout Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.