There are a number of medical conditions that can cause paralysis, including strokes, reactions to medications, various degenerative diseases and spinal cord damage. Injuries resulting from accidents and nerve damage from diseases are often to blame for paralysis. The most obvious symptoms that come with paralysis are the loss of sensation and muscle control in the affected area of the body. Dependent upon the nerves damaged by the precipitating medical condition or event, paralysis may be localized, affecting the face, one side of the body, a single extremity, or can be widespread.
Applying for SSD with Paralysis
Here are just a few examples of the Social Security Administration’s listed conditions that may apply in paralysis cases:
- Section 1.04 – Disorders of the spine
- Section 11.08 – Spinal cord or nerve root lesions, due to any cause
- Section 11.09 – Multiple sclerosis
- Section 13.13 – Malignant neoplastic diseases of the nervous system
- Section 14.02 – Systemic lupus erythematosus
If your paralysis is due to a spinal cord injury or damage, then the Disorders of the spine (1.04) listing is the applicable one in your case. Your application must either meet this listing or be found eligible for disability benefits based on a medical vocation allowance, which essentially states that your condition doesn’t meet the requirements of a listed impairment, but still prevents you from working.
To be found eligible for benefits under section 1.04 listing, you’ll need to ensure your application and medical records show:
- You suffered a spinal injury or damage that has affected the nerves of the spinal cord, and
- That the injury or damage has caused nerve root compression leading to pain and/or loss of motion, muscle control or strength, reflexes, or sensation.
No matter which paralysis-causing impairment is the basis for your SSD application, you’ll need to ensure your application and substantiating documentation include:
- Your full medical history
- Notes from physical examinations detailing your condition
- Diagnostic test results that pinpoint the reason for your paralysis
- Treatment records, including physical therapy, surgical procedures and medications
- Statements from your physician explaining your condition, symptoms, outlook and your limitations
If you don’t meet the criteria for any of the SSA’s listed medical conditions, then you’ll need to qualify for disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance. In addition to the records listed above, you’ll want to ensure your application and medical documentation also show how your functional capacity is diminished by your paralysis. The SSA needs to see that you’re unable to perform the essential job duties required for maintaining gainful employment in your previous career or any other for which you’re qualified.
Getting Help with Your Paralysis SSD Application
To file a successful SSD claim for paralysis, you must work with your doctor to ensure your medical records meet the requirements of the SSA. You should also consider seeking help with your application from a Social Security advocate or attorney, as they can help you document your disability and prove that you either match a listed impairment or meet the requirements for a medical vocational allowance.