Will Parkinson’s Disease Qualify For Disability Benefits?

Advanced Parkinson's disease

Since Parkinson’s Disease, also known as PD or Parkinsonian Syndrome, is a motor system disorder, it mainly affects a person’s movement. The most well-known symptoms of PD are tremors, but there are lesser-known symptoms that are associated with the disorder as well: impaired coordination, stiffness, changes in speech, and dementia in later stages. It is a degenerative disease, meaning it might get progressively worse as an individual ages. While PD has no known cure, some medications are available to help control an individual’s symptoms; surgery may also be recommended in some cases. Read on for more information about qualifying for disability benefits with PD.

Meeting Medical Criteria To Qualify For Disability Benefits

You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits as a person with PD, as long as you meet the criteria detailed in the SSA’s medical listing 11.06 for Parkinsonian Syndrome. These are the criteria you must prove you experience in order to qualify:

  • Significant slowness of movement (bradykinesia), rigidity, or tremors in at least two extremities, which end up resulting in
  • Prolonged difficulty in movement, or walking at an abnormal rate.

Qualifying When Your Symptoms Don’t Meet The Criteria

It may still be possible for you to qualify for disability benefits even if you don’t meet the above guidelines. “Medical-vocational” or “med-voc” rules stipulate that you will have to prove that the severity of your condition significantly limits your ability to perform basic actions at work

The SSA (Social Security Administration) will review the report of your symptoms alongside your medical records and your doctor’s opinion, as well as an SSA-hired doctor to evaluate you and any other claim file evidence. After reviewing, they will assign you a residual functional capacity (RFC), the heaviest work classification that the SSA feels you are capable to perform. They will consider your level of education, prior work experience, and age to further determine what other jobs you could perform on a consistent basis.

The SSA will also take into consideration whether your ability to work is impacted by other conditions, be they physical or mental, when in the process of assigning you an RFC. You generally have a greater chance of being approved for benefits if you are over 50, as well as if you have a history of unskilled work or less education.

Required Medical Evidence to Prove PD-Driven Disability

The SSA must have access to your recent medical records if you are applying for disability benefits due to PD. These should include your specific diagnosis of having Parkinson’s, doctor-provided documentation on the nature and persistence of your symptoms, and confirmation of your diagnosis via the results of neuroimaging tests. It’s also important that you provide testimony in addition to formal medical records, such as how your symptoms affect everyday activities, negative side effects from medications, or any depression or anxiety you’ve experienced as a result of PD.

Applying for Disability Benefits

An experienced personal injury and disability lawyer will be able to help you navigate the murky waters of applying for disability benefits. If you’re located in or near the Chicago or Tampa areas, don’t hesitate to contact Disparti Law Group, today.

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