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Erbs Palsy

Erb’s Palsy is caused by an injury to the nerves surrounding the shoulder which are also known as the brachial plexus. This condition is also known as brachial palsy, Erb-Duchenned paralysis, or Klumpke paralysis, but this should not be confused with cerebral palsy which is caused by an injury to the head or brain or an abnormal brain condition.

English: Anterior view of right brachial plexu...

Claimants with Erb’s palsy suffer from paralysis or weakness in the arm which can lead to various levels of impairment. Injury may occur to the upper arm, although this is generally simply called brachial plexus injury. Erb’s palsy specifically refers to the inability, due to paralysis, to move the upper arm and the lower arm. Some claimants have additional paralysis of the eyelid and hand.

Causes of Erb’s Palsy


Erb’s palsy is most often caused by nerve injuries during birth when the nerves in the brachial plexus are damaged. Healthier delivery techniques have lowered the occurrence of these injuries. This condition is more likely to affect the babies of mothers with gestational diabetes, pelvic abnormalities or long labors.

This condition occurs when the nerve is stretched or torn, although it generally can heal within months of the delivery. If the condition does not improve the child may receive physical therapy, massage or surgery.

Winning Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Erb’s Palsy


Supplemental Security Income may be awarded to children who have a severe disability, if they are under the age of 18 (22 if attending school) and the SSA decides they have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or impairments which results in marked and severe functional limitations. The condition must also be expected to last for 12 continuous months or result in death.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children is also only offered to families who have limited income and resources. This requirement seems to be especially confusing to applicants, but the SSA does not award Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to certain families, regardless of the severity of their child’s condition.

Keep in mind, if the child is living with the parents the Social Security Administration counts a portion of the parents’ income and resources as if they were available to the child. Talk to the SSA about whether you family meets the income and resource requirements of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSA can be reached at 1-800-772-1213.

Determining if your child is disabled


The Social Security Administration maintains a listing of all the conditions and symptoms they consider disabling for a child. To win benefits your child’s condition will have to be on this list, which is called the SSA listing of Impairments – Part B for children, or they will have to prove their condition “meets or exceeds” a listing.

Proving that your condition meets or exceeds a listing will require more than a diagnosis. Medical evidence clearly outlining the symptoms and limitations your child has will also be required.

Erb’s Palsy is not listed in the SSA Listing of impairments, but as mentioned above, it may be hard to prove that it will last for at least 12 continuous months. If you can prove this, you will have to prove that your child’s condition is as severe as a listed condition.

One listing which can be reviewed is 101.00 Musculoskeletal System, specifically 101.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause). Under this listing, however, you would have to prove that the injury involves of one major peripheral joints in each upper extremity (i.e., shoulder, elbow, or wrist-hand) and your child does not have the ability to perform fine and gross movements effectively.

Talk to a disability lawyer if you need more information about your child’s condition.
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