Do Parkinsonian Syndromes Qualify For Disability Benefits
According to the SSAs Blue Book, Parkinsons Disease is considered a disability and is a qualifying medical condition for disability benefits. In fact, the disease is listed within the collective name of Parkinsonian Syndromes in section 11.06 of the Blue Book. So, if you have signs of Parkinsonian Syndrome and not Parkinson Disease, you may still qualify for disability benefits.
To meet the SSAs requirements for disability benefits of the disease, you must be able to meet the following despite taking prescribed treatment for three consecutive months:
- Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, that results in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up in a seated position, balance while standing or walking or use the upper extremities.
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information or
- Interacting with others or
Social Security Disability For Parkinsons Disease
In this article our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys discuss collecting SSDI for Parkinsons disease.
Parkinsons disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. The cause of Parkinsons is unknown, but there are several factors that seem to play a role, including genetic mutations, certain environmental triggers, head injuries, or drug use.
Some symptoms of Parkinsons disease may include shaking or tremors, slowed movement, rigid muscles, loss of automatic movements, impaired posture or balance, and/or speech or writing changes. As many as 80% of people suffering from Parkinsons disease also deal with depression as a direct result of the effects of Parkinsons.
Although Parkinsons is not lethal in and of itself, it often leads to early death because those with Parkinsons are more likely to contract pneumonia, or because of a decreasing ability to swallow, which may lead to choking. Decreased motor ability may also result in falling or other accidents. There is no known cure for Parkinsons, although some medical treatments seem to offer varying degrees of success. The disease and its symptoms tend to worsen the longer one has Parkinsons.
Filing For Social Security Disability With A Parkinsons Disease Diagnosis
The SSA has a complied list guidelines of conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Under it’s listing in the “Blue Book,” Parkinsons Disease is a condition that can qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits provided that certain diagnostic criteria are met and documented which include:
- bradykinesia, or tremor in two extremities causing ongoing problems with movement
- gait, or ability to stand
There is no single test that can provide a definitive diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease. Diagnosis is based upon an evaluation of the symptoms present, as well as a neurological examination.
Also, the presence of at least two of what are considered to be the cardinal symptoms of Parkinsons can be considered to be strongly indicative of the presence of the condition.
Additionally, tremors of the hands that occur while the hand is at rest, symptoms that begin on one side of the body, and/or a positive response to levodopa are also telltale diagnostic tools.
It can be assumed that these symptoms could be used as the basis for a Social Security Disability case on their own should they become serious enough to inhibit ones ability to work. If the disease has progressed to this point, however, the patient has likely already qualified based on physical/motor symptoms.
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Disabilities Secondary To Parkinsons Disease
While most people tend to think of Parkinsons disorder as a neurological movement disorder, and it most certainly is, many people do not realize that other systems in the body can also be severely affected by Parkinsons. Often, the same chemical exposure can also cause other disorders, such as ischemic heart disease. However, often it is the Parkinsons itself, or the medication used to treat it that is the causal factor in the development of a new disorder. Whether a veterans Parkinsons was caused by exposure to the TCDD in agent orange, pesticides, trichloroethylene, or its origins are unknown, Parkinsons cause many secondary health effects and disabilities.
Parkinsons is known as a neurodegenerative disorder that is, it causes neurons to degenerate or decay. The most famous area for PD degeneration is in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra, where Parkinsons causes the death of neurons that generate dopamine, a neurotransmitter which is involved with movement. However, morerecentstudies have also shown that Parkinsons also attacks nerves in the heart which produce another neurotransmitter, noradrenaline. This typically takes place in the left ventricle and can have many complications.
Proving Service Connection For Parkinsons Disease Without A Presumption:
As for any other non-presumptive conditions, veterans with Parkinsons who did not serve in a location listed above may still qualify for VA compensation. You will need to submit additional evidence to show that your exposure was during military service, and link the exposure to your Parkinsons.
Because PD is progressive, the VA does not make veterans wait for the disease to slowly evolve. So medical documentation of symptoms should pave the way to service connection. The first thing you need to provide is documentation that you have symptoms of Parkinsonism.
You will need to provide the VA with your
- Military separation records
- Service treatment records
- Medical evidence of diagnosis and treatment of Parkinsons
Timing and sufficient evidence of Parkinsons are critical, as a timely filing for VA compensation properly ensures that you can start receiving benefits from the date VA has your claim in hand.
You will also need your physicians opinion saying that your PD was caused by exposure to toxins in service, or by a service-connected traumatic brain injury . We recommend providing a statement detailing your exposure or event.
Regarding Parkinsons in particular, various instances exist by which veterans may qualify for service-connected VA compensation, including
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Living With Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a degenerative disease, which means that the symptoms get worse with time. The most common early symptoms include body rigidity or stiffness and shakiness when the hands are at rest. Other early symptoms include fatigue, balance problems, slurred speech, reduced sense of smell, gastrointestinal problems, slowed movement, personality change, and lack of emotional expression. As the disease progresses, the symptoms get worse. Tremors and stiffness can affect the ability to move independently. Dementia may occur in the later stages of the disease.
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease, but medications can help to control symptoms.
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Veterans With Parkinsons Eligible For Tdiu
If your service-connected Parkinsons keeps you from working, benefits may also be available under a unique rating called Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability . Under this program, the VA pays 100% of total disability compensation to veterans who are unable to earn a living, and whose service-connected disabilities are not rated as 100-percent disabling. You want to be sure to file for TDIU as well.
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Social Security Disability Benefits And Parkinson’s Disease
To be considered “disabled,” your Parkinson’s disease must be severe enough that it:
- Prevents you from working full-time
- Keeps you from working in any capacity
- Has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year
- Is life-threatening
Not sure if you qualify for SSD or Supplemental Security Income benefits? Basically, it depends on your work history. If you paid into the Social Security system within the past five years, you may be eligible for SSD benefits. If you haven’t held a job long enough, or recently enough, you may be eligible for SSI benefits instead.
mind that the SSA requires medical records and details about your Parkinson’s disease when you were officially diagnosed, the severity of your Parkinson’s, if you are responding to treatment, etc.
It’s critical that you visit your specialist regularly and follow through with your prescribed treatment plan. Over time, some patients stop responding to prescription medications. Never discontinue your medication without consulting your physician. The Social Security Administration’s evaluation process is tough and complicated, and you want to increase your chances of being approved.
What Treatment Does My Long Term Disability Insurer Want To See
The insurance company will require proof you are seeking appropriate treatment fr ur Parkinsons. Even if your symptoms are stable, your long term disability insurer will want to see that you are regularly visiting your doctors and following their treatment recommendations.
Parkinsons is treated most often with Levodopa , carbidopa, or a combination of the two called Sinemet. Your doctor may prescribe other medications that cause your body to make more dopamine. And your doctor may also prescribe medication that imitates the effects of dopamine or that stop your body from breaking down dopamine. Providing your long term disability insurer with proof of your prescribed medications is important. Your long term disability insurer will require that your doctor is regularly reviewing, and if needed, adjusting any medications you take.
Your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist to improve your balance and ability to move. Physical therapy may also include muscle-strengthening exercises to help you speak or swallow. Your long term disability insurer will require that you keep consistent appointments with your physical therapists.
Other treatments may include deep brain stimulation, implants, or experimental treatments to spur the creation of dopamine. Again, your long term disability insurer will require that you are regularly visiting your doctors and that you are following their recommendations.
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Applying For Ssdi: Parkinsons Disease Symptoms And Treatments
While every person will experience Parkinsons Disease differently, many will experience some of the same symptoms. You may notice some initial subtle signs during the early stages, such as balance issues, minor tremors, slower movements, muscle stiffness, difficulty smiling and blinking on command and changes in speech and writing. These symptoms typically become progressively worse over time, and worsen at different rates in each person. The ability to walk, ability to balance, and/or ability to rise to standing from a seated position will often be affected. Concentrating on tasks can become difficult for many people with Parkinsons.
Treatment will also vary with each person and it can take some time for doctors to find the right balance of medication doses and therapies. You will likely be prescribed various medications to manage your symptoms as a way to improve your quality of life. Side effects from prescription medications used to treat Parkinsons may be significant for some people and should be discussed with your doctor.
Patients with Parkinsons will need to see their doctors regularly, and also may need to follow a rigorous therapy program, such as speech therapy, physical therapy and therapy as provided by a mental health professional. In some situations, brain stimulation through a surgical procedure may be performed.
Receiving Social Security Disability For Parkinsons Disease
According to the Parkinsons Foundation, nearly 1 million Americans live with Parkinsons disease. The Foundation says approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinsons disease every year.
Parkinsons disease can cause great physical and emotional impairments. These impairments can interfere with ones ability to work and lead to financial hardship.
Do you have Parkinsons disease that impacts your ability to continue working? You could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Benefits .
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Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits it also offers benefits for total disability. However, Social Security wont consider you disabled if you can do just about any gainful occupation or if you can work part time. That is why people with Parkinsons often have difficulty collecting the first time they apply.
Here are some items you should know about social security disability benefits:
- Social Security pays benefits to people who cant work because they have a medical condition thats expected to last at least one year or result in death.
- Generally, there is a five-month waiting period to receive disability payments once approved. Social Security pays your first benefit the sixth full month after the date it finds your disability began.
- Every year, Social Security mails a Social Security Statement to people age 60 and older with estimates of future retirement and disability benefits.
- Everyone ages 18 and older can view their Social Security Statement online with a free and secure my Social Security account from the Social Security Administration. Visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount/statement.html to learn more about the online Statement and to sign up.
- After you receive Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, you will be eligible for Medicare.
- Learn more about Social Security Disability Insurance at www.ssa.gov.
Parkinsons Disease And Social Security Disability
Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease every year. The majority of these cases have no known cause, but the symptoms are quite clear. Here, we discuss the disease and whether having Parkinsons Disease qualifies you for disability benefits through Social Security.
Parkinsons Disease is a progressive degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms usually present on one side of the body, and that is the side of the body that will experience the most severe symptoms over the course of the disease. Although symptoms usually start in the extremities, Parkinsons Disease eventually moves to the brain, and dementia becomes a problem in the later stages of the disease.
The most common early symptom is a tremor in one hand when that hand is at rest. Other typical Parkinsons Disease symptoms include blank facial expression, postural instability , speech problems, bradykinesia , shuffling when walking, limb rigidity , and cognitive problems .
Unfortunately, Parkinsons is presently incurable. Some medications have been developed to help manage the symptoms, but they work with varying degrees of success and not for every patient suffering from the condition. Physical therapy can assist with maintaining muscle strength over time.
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Social Security Disability Approval For Parkinsons Disease
Until a determination that Parkinsons qualifies for the compassionate allowance, people suffering from Parkinsons have to show that their condition keeps them from performing whatever type of work they have performed over the past 15 years, or any type of work for which they could be trained.
Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income Benefits for Parkinsons Disease
Depending on circumstances, an individual with Parkinsons may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance , Supplemental Security Income or both.
SSDI eligibility is based on work history, your average lifetime earnings before becoming disabled, and financial need. It is not based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have. SSI provides cash assistance and health care coverage to people with low income and limited assets who have reached the age of 65 or are disabled. To qualify for either program, a determination of complete disability under the SSAs guidelines must be made.
A Lawyer Experienced In Disability Insurance Laws And Parkinsons Disease Can Provide The Support You Need
Group LTD claims fall under federal ERISA law. When a group claim is denied, the information you present in your appeal to the insurance company will also be the basis for a potential lawsuit against the insurance company. An experienced ERISA lawyer is essential to your case.
In a private disability benefits claim denial based on Parkinsons disease, state contract and bad faith laws prevail. In each case, our experienced attorneys are prepared to review your claim, explain your legal options, and help you get the compensation you deserve.
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Do Not Be Discouraged
Many SSDI claims for Parkinsonian Syndrome are initially denied. Yet when represented by a disability attorney, denials often go on to be approved at the ALJ hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Our attorneys can give you superior support in pursuing your disability benefits for Parkinsons disease and can represent your claim at any level of the appeals process. We also have the resources that can help a borderline claim based on Parkinsonian syndrome be successful.
Laboratory Tests For Tremors
Because your doctor will be using the process of elimination to diagnose your essential tremor, they may want to order some laboratory tests. These will help rule out any other conditions that could be contributing to your tremors. Your doctor may need samples of your blood or urine to perform these tests.
Your doctor may order lab tests looking for thyroid disease or metabolic problems. They may also want to check if any medications youre taking have tremors as a possible side effect. And if your bloodwork shows certain levels of chemicals, that might explain why youre having tremors.
Here are tips on going in for your C& P Exam from one of our VA disability lawyers that has reviewed hundreds of them.
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Applying For Disability Benefits For Parkinson’s Syndrome
To apply for benefits, call the SSA at 772-1213. The SSA will make an appointment for you to apply over the phone or at a local SSA office. You can also apply online at www.ssa.gov if you are applying for SSDI only . Once your application is complete, your file will be reviewed by an SSA claims examiner as well as by a doctor specially trained in SSA’s medical rules. They will request records from your doctors, send you questionnaires to complete, or ask you to attend an examination by a doctor that they hire. Once the evidence in your file is complete, a decision will be issued. On average this takes four to five months, but it could take much longer.
|Take our disability quiz to help you determine whether you qualify for benefits.|
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability For Parkinsons
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer on how long it will take you get to get disability benefits for Parkinsons.
After your initial application is complete, it will take the SSA around 3-5 months to get back to you with a decision regarding your claim.
The exact time varies depending on the time it takes for you to get all of your medical records and information over to the SSA to make a decision.
If the SSA denies your application, you are able to appeal the decision, but that will prolong the time it takes for you get disability for Parkinsons.
The more medical evidence and documentation you have to support your claim with Parkinsons, the shorter time it could take for you to get the benefits you deserve.
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