Not all victims of neuropathy will have the symptoms listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book. If you are not able to work, you can improve your chances of being approved for disability benefits if your doctor completes a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
An RFC is used by the SSA to help decide how much work you can actually perform, if any at all, and if you are able to work in the next 12 months. The RFC will ask your physician to list what weight you can both lift or pull, what duration you are able to stand unaided and if you are able to walk independently. Also, an RFC will explain if you can move your hands or feet easily or not, which are the key limitations of a victim suffering from neuropathy.
How to Use the RFC When You Have Neuropathy
If you are able to prove through the RFC that your ability to undertake daily tasks is reduced by 20 percent due to the neuropathy and its side effects you may be abl to win your claim for disability benefits. For example, let’s say you have reached the age of 60 years or more and you have been working as a chef all your life. You now have neuropathy but your symptoms cannot be found in the Blue Book.
You should be able to use the RFC to file a claim for disability benefits. This is because the symptoms you are likely to be experiencing as a result of neuropathy will probably make it difficult to be trained to do another job.
As well as providing the RFC report, the SSA could ask you to fill in an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) report. In this you should include details of how the neuropathy is influencing your enjoyment of life and whether you require help undertaking normal every day.
This includes activities like grocery shopping, cooking and keeping to a high standard of personal hygiene. There could be activities you enjoyed which improved your quality of life which you are now no longer able to do such as hiking, gardening and playing tennis.
What Documents to Include With Your RFC For Neuropathy
When you are filing for disability benefits through your RFC assessment conducted by your doctor, the SSA will require substantial proof to back up your claim. This should include at least the following:
- details of all medical examinations conducted by a physician;
- monofilament and vibration test results;
- blood tests;
- nerve conduction studies;
- all skin biopsies;
- sudomotor axon fiber neuropathy (QSART) results;
- a written history of all prescribed medications and treatments you have had for your neuropathy;
- the names of the treatment facilities with contact details;
- the names of all treating physicians and their contact details.
The key things about the evaluation of your RFC when you experiencing neuropathy are how fatigued you get during the day and whether you have the ability to walk, lift or carry anything. If the SSA is not satisfied with your doctor’s report, the outcome of medical tests and your RFC then they may ask for an appointed doctor to carry out a further medical examination before the SSA reaches a decision.
SSDI or SSI Benefits for Neuropathy
The SSA does have two different types of disability benefits which those with neuropathy may be able to access. The benefit you may be able to receive will depend on your personal situation.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is in place for workers who have over time accumulated enough work credits to qualify. If you do not have these work credits you could be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if your income level is below a certain threshold in your household. You will have to provide the right evidence to the SSA concerning your eligibility for either SSDI or SSI.
You May Need Help With your RFC for Neuropathy
Trying to fill in forms to back up your RFC may be just too much for you, especially if your ability to move your hands has been affected by neuropathy. You must also be sure that the evidence you have to support your SSDI or SSI disability benefit claim is sufficient; otherwise your application may be denied. To try to avoid a denial you should discuss your neuropathy disability claim with a disability lawyer.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An experienced disability lawyer will know how to file a claim to the SSA on your behalf whether it is for SSDI or SSI. Your attorney will filter through all your documentation and ensure that it fits into the requirements asked for by the SSA so that there is a chance of winning the claim. Complete the Free Case Evaluation today!