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Being approved for disability on the basis of cerebral palsy
On this page, we will discuss the two ways in which a person may be approved for disability on the basis of cerebral palsy, which is through A) the SSA medical impairment listings and B) the medical vocational decision process.
We will also address a question that was submitted which is "If I work or go to school, will that affect my disability application based on Cerebral Palsy?"
First we will cover how the listings address cerebral palsy, and then we will address the submitted question which also covers the medical vocational allowance system.
Synopsis of the listing:
Social Security evaluates cerebral palsy under the 11:00 Neurological Impairments section, under subsection 11.07 Cerebral Palsy. The listing states that you can meet or equal this listing for an approval if you have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy with an IQ of 70 or less; or behavior patterns that are considered to be abnormal such as destructive behavior or emotional instability; motor function disorganization, or significant communication problems that are due to speech, hearing or visual defects.
The precise wording is as follows:
11.07 Cerebral palsy. With:
A. IQ of 70 or less; or
B. Abnormal behavior patterns, such as destructiveness or emotional instability; or
C. Significant interference in communication due to speech, hearing, or visual defect; or
D. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B.
The description of disorganization of motor function found in listing 11.04B reads as follows:
Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.
Further descriptive commentary with regard to persistent disorganization of motor function is provided by section 11.00C which reads as follows:
Persistent disorganization of motor function in the form of paresis or paralysis, tremor or other involuntary movements, ataxia and sensory disturbances (any or all of which may be due to cerebral, cerebellar, brain stem, spinal cord, or peripheral nerve dysfunction) which occur singly or in various combinations, frequently provides the sole or partial basis for decision in cases of neurological impairment. The assessment of impairment depends on the degree of interference with locomotion and/or interference with the use of fingers, hands and arms.
Now, to the question that was recently submitted:
"If I work or go to school, will that affect my disability application based on Cerebral Palsy?"
Here is the answer that was given:
The fact that you are in college may or may not affect your SSI disability case. You seem to have a combination of impairments that are a result of your cerebral palsy. If you do not meet the criteria listed above you still may be approved for disability based upon your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of limitations imposed upon you by your cerebral palsy).
If Social Security finds that your residual functional capacity is significantly restricted, they may decide that you are unable to perform any work activity (this would include jobs that are in your past relevant work history as well as jobs for which you might otherwise be considered suited based on your age, education, skills, and functional limitations). If that's the case, you would be found to be medically eligible, and therefore possibly approved for SSI.
I say "possibly" because, of course, there are other factors that affect any potential SSI entitlement. Even if you are found to be disabled medically your SSI claim could still be denied if you have income or resources (by this they mean assets) that are over the SSI limits.
The fact that you are a younger individual may also have some affect upon your SSI case, but without knowing about your medical history and what your limitations are, it is hard to say how much of an effect your age would have upon your SSI medical decision.
Generally, you'll hear people who work in the disability system--attorneys, claimant's reps, field office claims representatives, and examiners--state that its easier for older individuals to win benefits. And that's certainly true due to vocational consideration--the presumption is made that older workers will have a more difficult time transitioning to new employment, especially the older they are, the less education they have, and the less skilled they are. However, younger individuals commonly win their claims and its not unusual at all.
If you are denied and you still feel that you are disabled, appeal your SSI claim decision. It is, in most cases, to your advantage to appeal your disability claim decision rather than filing a new disability claim. Just make sure that you do the appeal quickly to avoid missing a deadline and to reduce processing time on your claim. Good luck with your case.
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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.
The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.
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