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Neuropathy and SSA Disability Benefits

Can you get SSDI or SSI for neuropathy? Potentially, but first you need to understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your condition and what you will need to prove to win SSI or SSDI benefits.

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What is Neuropathy?


According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy is generally caused by nerve damage due to either an injury, exposure to toxins, infections or most frequently diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy can lead to the following severe systems:

  1. Loss of sensation in the hands or feet.

  2. Numbness and pain

  3. Sharp or jabbing electrical pain

  4. Lack of coordination

  5. Lack of bladder control

  6. Paralysis


How does the SSA evaluate my physical health condition?


The Social Security Administration has two methods they use to evaluate a disabling health condition: they will determine if the condition meets or exceeds a listing on their SSA Listing of Impairments or they will determine whether or not the condition leaves the claimant with the residual capacity to work (called a medical vocational allowance).

There are a variety of causes for peripheral neuropathy, as mentioned above, and the SSA may choose to evaluate your neuropathy based on the underlying condition causing your symptoms. For instance, if you have diabetes and resulting neuropathy the SSA may evaluate whether you can qualify for SSI or SSDI by evaluating your diabetic condition. If, however, it is caused by a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or HIV, the SSA will use a different listing. The same will apply to neuropathy caused by a severe thyroid issues or back conditions, the SSA will evaluate the condition under the corresponding disorder.

Changes have also recently been made to the diabetes mellitus listing which is one of the main causes of peripheral neuropathy. The SSA has stated that this condition may no longer be automatically disabling due to the changes in medical treatment and scientific advancements.  The SSA further claims that early intervention and better treatment options have allowed claimants to continue to pursue employment.

If you have severe neuropathy it might be a good idea to consult with a disability lawyer to determine if your condition may meet or exceed a listing on the SSA listing of impairments.

Winning SSDI or SSI benefits for Neuropathy through a medical vocational allowance


As mentioned above, many claimants whose condition does not meet or equal a listing may be able to prove that they are unable to work through a medical vocational allowance. How do you do this? The main goal is to have medical evidence that clearly states why you cannot work. For instance, if your neuropathy is so severe that you have difficulty walking and you must use a walker, this can severely limit your ability to work because you do not have sufficient use of your hands or legs.

Partial paralysis, tremors or involuntary movements can also substantially eliminate your ability to perform certain types of jobs. Additionally, any limitation in your hands to reach, grab, push or pull should also be clearly stated in your medical records.

Keep in mind, if you are seeking SSI or SSDI through a medical vocational allowance the goal is to have information which shows that you no longer have the residual functional capacity to perform your current job, any past jobs or retrain for new work.

Talk to a disability lawyer if you have questions about how to win SSDI and SSI

through a medical vocational allowance.
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