Motor Neuron Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits
Motor Neuron Diseases are a group of neurological disorders that destroy motor neurons—the cells that control the muscles used for speaking, walking, swallowing and breathing.
Motor Neuron Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of motor neuron disease usually follow a pattern that is broken down into three stages. These stages include the initial stage, the advanced stage and the end stage. Symptoms for each stage are as follows:
- Weakening of grip
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Muscle twitches
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- A feeling of “clumsiness”
- Slurred speech
- Twitching of the tongue
- Shortness of breath
- Morning headaches
- Progressively weaker muscles
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty communicating
- Excessive yawning
- Excessive drooling
- Emotional changes
- Changes to mental capabilities
- Total body paralysis
- Respiratory complications
Motor Neuron Disease and Qualifying Criteria
Because motor neuron disease can severely impact a person’s day-to-day activities, it may become necessary to apply for disability benefits. Unfortunately, motor neuron disease is not listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of disabling conditions. Therefore, in order to qualify for disability benefits your motor neuron disease symptoms must meet the qualifications under a different listing.
You may qualify for benefits under other sections of the Blue Book including:
- Disorganization of motor function (11.00);
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (11.10);
- Peripheral neuropathies (11.14);
- Subacute combined cord degeneration (pernicious anemia) with disorganization of motor function as described; or
- Degenerative disease not listed elsewhere.
In order to qualify for disability benefits you must provide thorough medical evidence to document your condition and its symptoms. Medical evidence may include records of hospitalizations, medical tests and treatments.
Be sure to work with your doctor to collect enough documentation to prove to the SSA that your condition has caused a severe degree of interference with your ability to move as well as your ability to use your fingers, hands and arms.
The Services of a Social Security Disability Attorney
Because motor neuron disease is not listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, it can be difficult to qualify for disability benefits. Many applicants find that hiring a Social Security Disability attorney simplifies the process. An attorney or advocate can help you determine what medical evidence you need and will help you put together a thorough and accurate application.
Submitted by: Molly Clarke