Yes, neuropathy is considered a disability by the SSA. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, may occur due to a range of conditions such as diabetes and chemotherapy.
It is not just a single health condition but is a term used to describe a number of health problems which have caused damage to the peripheral nerves. It has been estimated that more than 20 million Americans have some form of peripheral neuropathy.
Is Neuropathy a Disability?
Neuropathy is considered a disability by the SSA. To get disability benefits for neuropathy you’ll need to meet a Blue Book listing and provide enough medical evidence. The Blue Book is kept by the SSA to use as reference when someone with a disability files a claim for disability benefits. If the medical condition cannot be found in the Blue Book eligibility for disability benefits cannot be guaranteed.
Types of Neuropathy That Are Considered a Disability
There are several types of nerve damage associated with neuropathy which are:
- Motor nerve damage, which commonly causes muscle weakness leading to painful cramps, fasciculations or uncontrolled muscle twitching under the skin and muscle shrinking.
- Sensory nerve damage, which affects the ability to feel vibrations and touch, especially in the hands and feet. This damage might contribute to the loss of reflexes. People are often unable to coordinate complex movements such as walking or fastening buttons or keeping their balance when their eyes are closed.
- Autonomic nerve damage, which may cause excessive sweating, intolerance to heat, unable to expand and contract the small blood vessels that control blood pressure, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Some victims develop problems with eating or swallowing if the nerves that control the esophagus are affected.
How to Get Disability Benefits For Neuropathy
In the SSA’s Blue Book there is a disability listing for neuropathy, and if you meet the requirements in the listing, your claim for disability benefits may be successful. It can be found under Section 11.14.
In order to qualify, you must be experiencing diminished motor function on at least two of your extremities as well as prove the neuropathy has limited your ability to take part in routine daily activities and go to work for at least 12 months.
Your doctor should provide a medical report including test results and treatment programs you have been following to support your disability benefits application. If the evidence isn’t sufficient you can ask your doctor to undertake a Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) assessment which tests your mobility and whether other things, like how much weight you can lift, your reaching abilities and whether you have any difficulties with, standing up, sitting down, or walking.
Get Help with Your Neuropathy Disability Claim
It is never easy to win a claim for disability benefits even if neuropathy is listed in the Blue Book. It is a good idea to work with an attorney who may be able to help you win the disability benefits you deserve.
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