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Parkinson's Disease and SSA Disability Benefits

According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system which progressively erodes a claimant’s ability to move. Claimants who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may first have tremors, which are hardly noticeable, or speech, which becomes slow, soft or halting, but as the disease progresses the symptoms become much more severe.

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Claimants who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may experience a wide variety of symptoms. Whether you have slowed movement, tremors, rigid muscles, speech impairments or dementia, over time you may lose your ability to perform substantial gainful employment.

Winning SSI and SSDI Benefits for Parkinson’s Disease

One of the first hurdles to winning SSDI or SSI disability benefits may be to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s disease has similar symptoms to other common conditions: traumatic head injuries, neurological disorders, poisonous toxins and medication side effects.

Winning SSI or SSDI for this condition can be done in two ways: meeting a listing on the SSA listing of impairments or proving that although your condition is not severe enough to meet or equal a listing, your symptoms are so severe that you do not have enough residual capacity to work.

Meeting a Listing for Parkinson’s Disease on the SSA Listing of Impairments

Claimants who have Parkinson’s disease can win benefits by meeting a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book). Parkinson’s disease is evaluated under Listing 11.00 Neurological, Section 11.06 Parkinsonian syndrome.

Under this listing the SSA expects to see the following symptoms:

“Significant rigidity, bradykinesia, or tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.”

Winning SSI or SSDI benefits for Parkinson’s Disease through a medical vocational allowance

What if your condition does not meet the listing? The SSA also awards SSI and SSDI benefits to claimants who can prove, through great medical evidence, that they do not have the residual capacity to work. What would you need in your medical file to prove this? Documentation that proves you have severe limitations in the following areas:

Keep in mind, a condition such as Parkinson’s disease can also have severe side effects. Even if your condition in itself is not completely disabling if you have other side effects such as fatigue, low blood pressure, and complications to the medications all of these factors will also lower your ability to maintain full-time employment. Every condition you have which is supported by medical evidence and which lowers your ability to work should be listed on your SSDI or SSI application.

Keep in mind, when the SSA is evaluating your residual capacity to work they will determine what type of work you can perform (sedentary, light, medium or heavy) and then evaluate your work you have been performing, your present work and your ability to retrain for new work. Even if they do not think you can work your current job, if they think you can retrain for new work (given your age, work history and education) you will be denied SSDI and SSI benefits.
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