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Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a polyneuropathic disorder which affects the peripheral nervous system. It is usually a secondary condition resulting from an infection. Its most common symptoms include:

  • Weakness in the hands which migrates towards the core
  • Weakness in the feet which migrates towards the core
  • Nervous system dysfunction (usually affecting respiratory muscles)

Guillain-Barre syndrome is treatable, especially if it is caught early. The most common diagnostic tests are nerve conduction studies and cerebrospinal fluid tests. Guillain-Barre syndrome is usually treated intravenously. Most with the condition make a full recovery if the condition is treated promptly.

Even though Guillain-Barre syndrome is treatable, it can make it impossible for you to continue working while you are recovering. In some cases, people with Guillain-Barre syndrome may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. As with other conditions, to qualify for Social Security disability with Guillain-Barre, your diagnosis must show that the condition makes it unreasonable to expect you to continue working. Your diagnosis must also show that your disability is expected to last at least one year from the date of disability onset.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the Blue Book

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not include Guillain-Barre syndrome in its listings of disabling conditions. This does not mean that you can’t qualify for disability with Guillain-Barre syndrome. It does mean that you will need to show that your condition either:

  • Is equivalent in its scope and severity to other conditions which are listed in the SSA’s Blue Book
  • Reduces your ability to function so severely that you cannot be expected to perform any work for which you have experience or could reasonably be trained

The SSA often judges Guillain-Barre claims based on the condition which caused the disabled person to come down with Guillain-Barre syndrome. These conditions are often immune disorders, which are adjudicated based on their listings in Section 14 of the Blue Book or respiratory disorders, which are listed in Section 13.

Qualifying based on another condition associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome

There are several ways to approach a Social Security disability claim for Guillain-Barre syndrome, depending on which symptoms you suffer. The most common conditions caused by Guillain-Barre which are accepted by the SSA for disability purposes include:

  • Chronic respiratory insufficiency. This leads to breathing problems, which in turn leads to low oxygen levels.
  • Major joint dysfunction. This is caused by tightening muscles, which leads to difficulty walking or using your arms.

If you are claiming Social Security disability benefits based entirely or in part on Guillain-Barre syndrome, you would be well advised to speak with a Social Security lawyer about your claim. Simply being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome will not automatically qualify you for disability benefits.

When you present your claim, you will want to include any other disabling conditions you may have, whether they are related to your Guillain-Barre syndrome or not. Guillain-Barre syndrome sufferers often deal with depression or other mental illnesses due in part to their struggles with Guillain-Barre. If you suffer any debilitating symptoms-physical or mental/emotional, make sure that they are included in your claim.

Your Guillain-Barre Syndrome Social Security Disability Case

Consult a local Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible in the process of claiming disability benefits based on Guillain-Barre syndrome. Representation often means the difference between presenting a claim which will be awarded on the first pass and spending months or years in the appeals process.

Social Security lawyers only charge you if your claim is awarded. Their pay comes directly out of the back pay which is owed to you. The maximum you will be charged is 25% of your back pay. You will not have to make additional payments out of your ongoing benefits.