When Can Neuropathy Can Be a Qualifying Condition for SSDI Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits provide income for disabled workers. It is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Qualifying conditions for Social Security disability include mental and physical impairments, which could include neuropathy.

What Is Neuropathy? 

Neuropathy is damage to the nervous system. There are several forms of neuropathy. The most common form of neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, and diabetic neuropathy is the most common form of peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy 

Peripheral nerves send sensory information to the central nervous system and carry information from the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to the rest of the body. These messages tell our body when and how to move, control bodily functions, and recognize sensations. Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nervous system. 

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Motor nerve damage
  • Sensory nerve damage 
  • Autonomic nerve damage

Severe cases of peripheral neuropathy can cause total or partial paralysis, loss of bodily functions, and sensory problems. The causes of peripheral neuropathy include physical injury, diabetes, blood and vascular problems, autoimmune diseases, chemotherapy drugs, infections, and other conditions.

Over time, the symptoms of neuropathy can worsen. Walking may become difficult or impossible. It can be challenging to perform the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, and feeding.

The SSA recognizes diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy as disabling conditions for SSDI benefits. However, that does not mean you automatically receive Social Security disability benefits if you have neuropathy.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy develops over time as high levels of blood glucose damage the covering of the nerves, or to the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the nerves. As a result, the nerves fail to send messages, relay messages slowly, or send incorrect messages.

About one-half of people with diabetes develop diabetic neuropathy. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:

  • Burning, shooting pains, and tingling
  • Numbness in the feet, legs, or hands
  • Dizziness when changing positions quickly
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Urinary problems
  • Sexual function problems

Over time, diabetic neuropathy can cause muscle loss in the hands and feet. 

Filing an SSDI Claim for Neuropathy 

It is estimated that 20 million people in the United States have some form of neuropathy. Many of those individuals have severe symptoms that prevent them from working. If your neuropathy prevents you from holding a job, you might be eligible for SSDI benefits. 

Social Security disability benefits for neuropathy are awarded on a case-by-case basis. Neuropathy does not result in a disabling condition in every case. You must provide sufficient evidence to the SSA that proves your neuropathy symptoms are so severe that you cannot engage in any gainful activity to support yourself for at least 12 months.

There is a disability listing in the SSA Blue Book for neuropathy. The requirements for neuropathy to be a disabling condition according to the Blue Book are:

  1.   You have severe motor function problems in at least two extremities that cause an extreme limitation in your ability to balance while standing or walking, standing up from a seated position, or using the upper extremities; OR,
  2.   You have marked limitation in physical function of one of the following:
  • Persisting, concentrating, or maintaining pace
  • Remembering, understanding, or applying information
  • Managing and adapting oneself
  • Interacting with other people

You must have medical evidence and other documentation that proves you meet or exceed the above standards to receive SSDI for neuropathy. SSDI applications can be filed online, by telephone, or in person at a Social Security office. 

Unfortunately, the SSA denies many applicants because of clerical errors, technical grounds, or insufficient medical evidence. Appealing a Social Security disability denial can be time-consuming and complicated. You might want to consult with a Lancaster Social Security disability lawyer before you file an SSDI application for neuropathy.

How Can a Disability Lawyer Help You Apply for SSDI Based on Neuropathy?

Disability attorneys understand the process of applying for SSDI benefits. They understand the paperwork and how to complete applications completely and accurately. Lawyers also understand what evidence the SSA requires to approve a neuropathy disability claim. 

Having a lawyer complete and submit the application can save time because you avoid making mistakes that could delay your claim or cause your claim to be denied. You also have someone who understands the requirements for neuropathy to qualify as a condition for SSDI benefits. If you need assistance locating a medical specialist or obtaining additional evidence, a lawyer can advise you about taking those steps.

SSDI benefits for neuropathy can be life-altering for someone who cannot work. Disability benefits allow them to pay their living expenses and provide for their needs, even though they cannot work.

If you’ve been injured in a social security disability, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

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945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

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