Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a variety of medical conditions that result in disrupted development or damage to the part of the brain that controls posture and movement. It can vary in severity from mild coordination and muscle control problems to a complete inability to walk, difficulty speaking, and significant cognitive issues. The medical challenges of cerebral palsy are well-known, as are the challenges a family faces when raising a child with cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, the economic impact of cerebral palsy is often overlooked, which can leave families struggling to make ends meet and receive the compensation they are rightfully owed.
The Financial Challenges of Cerebral Palsy
There are many reasons that raising a child with cerebral palsy can be financially challenging, such as:
- It is a chronic, lifetime condition. Children with cerebral palsy generally require supportive care for the rest of their lives.
- Cerebral palsy is often accompanied by other medical conditions, including hearing loss, vision loss, seizures, and cognitive impairment. Each additional condition requires a diagnosis and treatment.
- In addition to their significant medical care, children with cerebral palsy require developmental assistance, special education services and supports, and assisted living once they reach adulthood.
- People with cerebral palsy may struggle to financially support themselves.
How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child with Cerebral Palsy?
The true cost of raising their child with cerebral palsy can come as a surprise to many families. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the direct and indirect costs of cerebral palsy can nationally top more than $11 billion each year. The CDC also estimated that the average lifetime cost of a person with cerebral palsy is more than $900,000. Breaking Down the Costs of Cerebral Palsy:
- 80% are Indirect Costs: Approximately 80% of the costs associated with cerebral palsy are due to lost productivity and limitations of the work people with cerebral palsy can perform.
- 20% are Direct Costs: Approximately 20% of the costs of cerebral palsy are directly related to medical and non-medical costs of physician visits, medications, assistive devices, inpatient stays, and rehabilitation. They also include the expense of making modifications to homes and automobile, special education, and developmental assistance.
Of the $900,000 it takes to support a person with cerebral palsy throughout their life, the brunt of it is frequently shouldered by the families. This staggering amount also doesn’t include costs like lost wages of family members who leave work to care for the child and out-of-pocket expenses for some treatments and ER visits. These costs are greatly affected by the severity of the child’s condition and the reimbursement practices of a family’s insurance company. More serious cases will cost a family far more than less serious cases, and comprehensive medical coverage can offset the costs of cerebral palsy for the family as well. These estimates also do not take into account the emotional suffering and pain a family may face as they navigate the challenges of raising their child.
Financial Assistance for Children with Cerebral Palsy
While families may struggle with all the associated expenses of cerebral palsy, there are supports in place to help offset these costs and bring financial relief to families. These include:
- Government programs that offer affordable healthcare, nutritional supplements, and tax credits to families.
- Charity organizations that offer information, support, counseling, advocacy, and equipment.
- Community organizations that offer child welfare and childcare supports.
The costs of cerebral palsy can be significant, but that doesn’t mean these challenges aren’t surmountable. At Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A., we are dedicated to helping families fight for their rights. If your doctor’s negligence led to your child’s condition, our Toledo birth injury attorneys can help you receive the compensation your family deserves.