How Disabling is Neuropathy?

If you have been diagnosed with neuropathy and find you are no longer able to work, you may think that you could be eligible to receive a disability benefit. In order to qualify your neuropathy condition must prevent you from working for at least 12 months.

The federal agency responsible for making decisions about eligibility for disability benefits is the Social Security Administration (SSA). This agency looks at how severe your symptoms are and whether they stop you from undertaking gainful employment. Because each person who suffers from neuropathy may have different symptoms, the SSA makes its decision after evaluating each individual case. It also takes into account your work history before reaching a final decision. For example, if your usual job involves lifting heavy loads and standing for long periods, you have a higher chance of being awarded disability benefits with neuropathy than if your usual job is sitting in front of a computer.

The SSA's Blue Book

The SSA uses its own medical guide to confirm if your medical condition is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. This is called the Blue Book. If your medical condition has its own list in the Blue Book you are more likely to be considered disabled enough to qualify for disability benefits. However, the final decision isn’t reached until you have provided medical evidence including your physician’s medical report that proves your neuropathy disallows you from working.

Neuropathy appears in two listings in the Blue Book, which are Section 9.08 and Section 11.14. Section 9.08 addresses neuropathy and states that in order to meet this section’s requirements, you need to have already been diagnosed with diabetes. The neuropathy symptoms are the following: 

  • tremor;
  • ataxia;
  • paralysis;
  • involuntary movement in two of your arms or legs which limits your ability to stand and walk. 

Section 11.14 covers the neurological system and, in particular, peripheral neuropathies. To qualify under this list you need to have been diagnosed with neuropathy that causes tremor, ataxia, paralysis, or involuntary movement in two of your arms or legs which interferes with your ability to stand and walk.  

Even if you qualify under one of the above lists you will still need to provide medical evidence, including your doctor’s diagnosis that determines your medical condition is serious enough to prevent you from working.

Medical Criteria Needed to Qualify with Peripheral Neuropathy

Getting Ready to Apply for Disability With Neuropathy

Before you file your disability benefits claim for neuropathy you should arrange to see a Social Security disability benefits attorney or advocate who may help evaluate your claim based on the medical evidence you provide and your work history.

An attorney can help you determine if your neuropathy qualifies for disability benefits. To get connected with an attorney that takes cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page today!

Additional Resources

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