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Neurological Disorders and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the guidelines set forth in the Blue Book to help determine whether a person’s disabilities are severe enough to qualify them for Social Security disability benefits. The Blue Book is divided into sections, each of which deals with conditions affecting a particular body function or system. The eleventh section deals with neurological conditions.

There are sixteen neurological conditions or groups of conditions which are listed in Blue Book Section 11. These include:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Syndrome)
  • Anterior Poliomyelitis
  • Brain tumors
  • Central nervous system vascular accidents
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cerebral trauma
  • Epilepsy
  • Lesions of the spinal cord or nerve roots
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Other degenerative diseases
  • Parkinsonian Syndrome
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Sub-acute combined cord degeneration
  • Syringomyelia

Cerebral Palsy

CP qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits if your IQ is less than 70, it causes significant behavioral or emotional problems, or it makes it impossible to communicate hear, or see sufficiently to function in an employment situation.


  • Grand Mal is generally approved for benefits if you are receiving treatment for three months and are still having more than once seizure per month with daytime episodes or nocturnal episodes which have residual effects which can be shown to be major interferences to your daily activities.
  • Petit Mal is approved for benefits if you are receiving treatment for three months and are still experiencing seizures more than once per week. The seizures must cause you to lose consciousness, alter your state of awareness, or cause behavioral issues which interfere with your daily activities.

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis qualifies you for Social Security benefits if it causes significant problems breathing, swallowing, or speaking while you are undergoing medical treatment. You may also be qualified if it causes severe muscle weakness when you are involved in repetitive activities.

Parkinsonian Syndrome

Parkinsonian syndrome qualifies you for disability benefits if it has these signs:

  • Sustained disturbance of fine motor skills
  • Sustained disturbance of gross motor skills
  • Sustained disturbance of gait
  • Rigidity
  • Tremors in two or more extremities

Other Neurological Conditions

Most other neurological conditions are evaluated based whether they meet the criteria for epilepsy or one of the following criteria:

  • Loss of ability to speak or communicate based on the neurological impairment.
  • Lack of motor function is two extremities (hands or feet) which cause irregular gait or significant difficulty with using your hands or feet for fine and gross motor skills.

Specific conditions evaluated under neurological disorders: