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Guillain Barre syndrome and SSA Disability Benefits

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A neuron cell diagram, cropped to show oligodendrocyte and myelin sheath. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]A neuron cell diagram, cropped to show oligode...[/caption]

According to WebMD, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a condition which “destroys the protective covering of the peripheral nerves (myelin sheath), preventing the nerves from transmitting signals to the brain.”

Claimants with Guillain-Barre syndrome experience a weakening and tingling sensation which begins first in their extremities and moves throughout their body as their immune system turns on itself and begins attacking their nerves.

Although the cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, the good news is that this condition is relatively uncommon. Seeking immediate medical help can reduce the length of the Guillain-Barre syndrome and most claimants will have very few residual symptoms from this condition. Others, who suffer the most severe Guillain-Barre syndrome symptoms (including paralysis) may experience long-term issues including bladder or intestinal dysfunction, high blood pressure, trouble breathing, pain in their lower back, inability to ambulate, residual tingling in their extremities and lack of facial movement.

Winning SSDI or SSI for Guillain Barre syndrome


The first step in winning SSI or SSDI disability benefits for Guillain Barre syndrome is getting an accurate diagnosis for your condition. Common diagnostic tests can include a spinal tap (lumbar puncture), nerve function tests, electromyography or a nerve conduction study. The SSA also will expect that you have received proper treatment for your Guillain-Barre syndrome which can include plasmapheresis or plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin.

Next the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate whether theGuillain-Barre syndrome or the functional limitations from the Guillain Barre syndrome will last for at least 12 continuous months and will not allow you to work. If your condition or the symptoms are not going to last for at least this long the SSA will deny SSDI or SSI benefits, regardless of the current severity of your condition.

Meeting a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments


The first method the SSA uses to determine if a claimant is disabled is by evaluating whether or not a claimant’s condition “meets or exceeds” a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments (a listing of all the conditions and symptoms which the SSA considers automatically disabling). Claimant’s with Guillain Barre syndrome may be able to prove that their condition meets or exceeds a listing under 11.00 Neurological on the SSA Listing of Impairments, especially if they have severe paralysis.

Winning SSDI or SSI through a medical vocational allowance


Claimant’s who have Guillain Barre syndrome which does not meet or exceed a listing must prove, through a medical vocational allowance, that they do not have the capacity to perform substantial gainful activities. To do this a claimant must have good medical evidence which should outline their mental and physical limitations to work. For instance, claimants should have information about the following:

If the claimant can establish through their medical records that they are severely limited in many work functions they may be able to prove they cannot work.
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