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Cerebral palsy is a lifelong developmental disorder that requires long-term care and treatment. The cost of caring for an individual with CP is calculated based on an array of direct and indirect expenses. This includes expenses related to medical treatment, as well as home modifications, assistive devices and more.
In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that lifetime costs of caring for an individual with cerebral palsy are approximately $1 million, in addition to normal living costs. When adjusted for inflation, this amount equates to nearly $1.3 million (as of 2014.)
The overwhelming cost of cerebral palsy treatment can leave many parents feeling discouraged. Luckily, there are many resources available to help. Government benefits, early intervention program, non-profit organizations and legal compensation are just some of the ways to alleviate the cost of CP treatment.
Medical costs for children with cerebral palsy are nearly ten times higher than the cost of caring for a child without a disability.
In 2005, a study of children on Medicaid found that the medical expenses of those with CP was $15,047 more than medical costs for children without a disability.
Some of the direct medical expenses for children with CP may include:
Medical expenses vary based on the severity of the child’s condition. For example, the cost of caring for a child with mild CP probably won’t be as high as those with more serious types of cerebral palsy. Children with severe movement limitations require more treatment and, therefore, have more costs associated with their care.
Nearly half of children diagnosed with cerebral palsy also have some form of coexisting intellectual disability, such as autism or ADHD. The expenses related to caring for a child with CP and an intellectual disability can exceed $50,000 per year.
CP children with a co-occurring intellectual disorder typically require the care of neurologists or specialists, as well as various types of therapy to help manage their symptoms. This can increase the total expenses related to CP treatment.
Fortunately for children who are diagnosed with CP and an intellectual disability, there are various avenues of financial support that can help alleviate these costs. This is especially true for parents who suspect that their child’s co-occurring conditions could have been prevented by a more attentive medical staff. Find out how to determine if your child’s CP and intellectual disability could have been the result of medical malpractice here.
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Direct medical expenses only make up half of the equation when it comes to calculating the costs of CP treatment.
An example of an indirect expense related to CP care would be home modifications. If a child requires the use of a wheelchair or another type of mobility aid, the home will need to be made wheelchair accessible. Many of these costs are not covered by insurance.
Other indirect costs of raising a child with CP are:
Another notable indirect cost of cerebral palsy is the child’s loss of earning potential, which has a net effect on the lifetime costs of living with this condition. Although many adults with CP are able to work, some may face employment limitations related to their physical or intellectual disability. This loss of potential wages is factored into the overall cost of CP treatment.
When budgeting for CP treatment, costs shouldn’t limit a child’s access to comprehensive, quality care. Many parents rely on several financial resources to help cover the costs of their child’s condition.
By taking advantage of the various programs and organizations designed to help families affected by cerebral palsy, parents can feel more secure about their financial future.
Sources of financial assistance for CP include:
Most children with cerebral palsy qualify for government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), that help cover medical and nonmedical expenses.
These programs are generally intended for children under the age of 3. Early intervention includes therapy and special education that can reduce the lifelong effects of cerebral palsy. Many children with CP can enroll in a government-funded early intervention program free of charge.
Non-profit support groups, such as United Cerebral Palsy, offer resources to help parents pay for things like medical equipment and housing. Find out more about CP support organizations here.
There are countless government-funded programs and organizations available across the country that can help cover the costs of CP treatment. These organizations offer services ranging from grants and scholarships to supplying the family with a wheelchair. Find out how to locate a financial support organization here.
One of the most valuable ways to obtain financial assistance for a child with CP is through filing a cerebral palsy lawsuit.
Some cases of cerebral palsy are caused by an injury at birth that could have been prevented. Parents who suspect that their child’s condition could have been avoided may be entitled to financial compensation.
The best way to determine if your child’s CP could have been the result of medical malpractice is through filing for a free case evaluation. By working with a team of experienced cerebral palsy lawyers, parents who qualify for a lawsuit will be able to file for legal compensation.
Legal compensation can be put towards wheelchair accessible housing and transportation, therapies, daily attendant care, special education and more. Click here to get started with your free case evaluation today.
Kimberlee is a writer and researcher who is passionate about helping children with disabilities enjoy a happy, healthy life. She works closely with our attorneys to create content that educates the families and caretakers of children with cerebral palsy.