The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability compensation for a wide range of neurological disorders. These problems affect not just the brain, but the spinal cord and nerves as well. If you have a condition that interferes with your ability to work, it’s important to ask a skilled Social Security disability attorney if you’re eligible for benefits.
Applying for disability is a complex and time-consuming process, and even valid claims are routinely denied by the SSA. Meanwhile, you’re left unable to work as the bills pile up. That’s why so many people turn to the trusted attorneys of Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP. We help clients get the compensation they need and take the stress out of the disability process.
Neurological Disorders Eligible for Disability
The SSA maintains an extensive list of impairments that may qualify an applicant for disability. Among these are neurological disorders. It’s a common misunderstanding that neurological problems only affect the brain. In reality, they can also occur in the nervous system and spinal cord. Some of the specific conditions covered by the SSA include:
- Epilepsy (convulsive or non-convulsive)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Brain injuries
- Brain tumors
- Nerve damage
The brain, spinal cord, and nerves work together to control the major functions of the body. A disorder or disease can therefore have serious consequences on someone’s ability to perform basic daily tasks, including those related to work. If you or a loved one are incapacitated or otherwise affected by one of these disorders, you may qualify for disability benefits.
What Evidence Will Support My Disability Claim?
Your medical records should contain evidence of symptoms that match whatever neurological disorder you’ve been diagnosed with. That might include things like:
- Cognitive problems
- Speech disorders
- Movement restrictions
- Visual impairment
Your documentation must provide ample evidence to back up your disability claims. For neurological disorders, you may have evidence such as MRIs, a spinal tap, blood tests, mental and physical exams, and much more. Your records should also evidence extensive treatment for your particular disorder. Additionally, you need to show that the condition limits your work capacity. That may include physical tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, or mental functions including focus and concentration.
SSA’s Review Process
Although these conditions can be severely limiting, it’s important to understand that merely having one may not be enough to receive compensation. The SSA will first review your evidence and determine whether your condition matches one contained in its Blue Book listings. The Blue Book contains a detailed list of impairments that qualify applicants for benefits. Each listing also comes with several requirements that must be met by the individual patient.
However, not all patients have disorders that match exactly what’s contained in the Blue Book. It’s common to have a neurological disorder that doesn’t meet the requirements of the listed impairments. In a situation like this, the SSA must decide whether the applicant is eligible for a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) determination.
The RFC is a measure of how much an individual can do despite the limitations imposed by a disease or condition. By evaluating your RFC, the SSA will decide whether you can work sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy work. This, in turn, will determine if you qualify for disability. If your RFC means you cannot work, then you will be eligible.
How the SSA Evaluates Your Evidence
If you or a loved one have a disabling neurological condition that could qualify you for benefits, gathering the medical documentation is the first crucial step. As with all claims handled by the SSA, it’s best to have extensive records in support of your application. That’s because your records are arguably the single most important piece of evidence you will submit to the SSA. They must show the existence of symptoms that are in line with either a Blue Book listing or some other limiting disorder.
The problem for many applicants with neurological disorders is that they are frequently difficult to document. Seizures, for example, happen periodically, and there’s a good chance a physician won’t be present when you have one. Fortunately, you may also be able to submit observations made by someone other than a medical professional. This could be a spouse, family member, previous co-worker, or friend who has seen how your neurological disorder affects you and your daily functions. Don’t forget to include your statement about the impact your condition has had on you.
The SSA will look at your medical records, doctors’ statements, and supporting statements from you and others. The agency will also evaluate your work history and training in deciding whether you can work despite your limitations.
How an Attorney Can Help with Disability Benefits for Neurological Disorders
Knowing Social Security disability law is just one reason to hire a seasoned attorney to assist you with the application process. Our firm also understands the sort of evidence the SSA is looking for, how and when to submit that evidence, and whether the SSA is fairly considering it. Even perfectly valid claims are frequently denied by the agency, leaving applicants unsure what to do next. Our disability attorneys appeal unfair adverse decisions and fight for the compensation our clients need.
Contact Our Lancaster Social Security Disability Attorneys for Patients with Neurological Disorders
Neurological disorders can be severely debilitating, and we want to make sure our clients get the benefits they’re entitled to under the law. You can count on Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, to have your back each step of the way. We will explain your legal options, lay out the application process, and then get to work building your disability claim. Give us a call today to get started or to appeal a prior SSA decision.