Some disabilities come on slowly, over several years. When Eric’s family noticed his hands trembling, they thought he was only tired or maybe his blood sugar was low. At 38, he seemed much too young to have a debilitating disease. As time went on, they noticed more symptoms. The disease affected his work as a carpenter. Finally, he learned what was wrong and started to explore whether he could get disability benefits for Parkinson’s Disease. After all, his family still needed his support.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
As a neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s affects neurons in a certain part of the brain. People with Parkinson’s may notice the following symptoms:
- Limb rigidity,
- Difficulty walking and with balance,
- Loss of smell,
- Sleep disorders,
- Mood disorders like depression or irritability,
- Digestive problems,
- Hallucinations and delusions,
This is by no means a complete list of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Also, many of these symptoms can happen for people who do not have the disease.
Parkinson’s also causes some cognitive problems. For example, someone with Parkinson’s may have trouble with “attention, planning, memory or even dementia.”
This disease can be slow-moving, so people can continue to function well for years. However, whether someone can continue working depends on the type of job they have. For example, Eric is a carpenter. He may have trouble planning his tasks and probably will be unable to walk around construction sites. The typical carpenter may have to apply for disability benefits because Parkinson’s disease has made it impossible, or even dangerous, for them to continue working.
Does Parkinson’s Disease Qualify as a Disability?
That depends on the results of the Social Security Administration (“Social Security”) assessment of your condition. Generally, Social Security is looking to see if you:
- Can no longer do the work you did before your diagnosis;
- Cannot adjust to a new job because of your medical condition; and
- Have a disability that has lasted at least a year, is expected to last a year, or that is expected to cause your death.
Since there is no cure for Parkinson’s, the disease definitely meets the final criteria.
How Does Social Security Decide That I’m Disabled?
Social Security manages two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Caseworkers refer to Social Security’s Listing of Impairments (the “Listing”) to decide whether someone is disabled or not.
The Listing includes many diseases and disorders. Also, the Listing states what proof Social Security will need to make its decision.
Under Section 11.06 – Neurological, someone might be considered disabled if they meet one of the following criteria for at least three months:
Motor function disorganization in two extremities that make it extremely difficult to stand, balance, walk, or use the upper extremities.
Very limited physical functioning and certain cognitive difficulties.
Of course, Social Security will want to see documentation from your healthcare providers. When you apply, your attorney can help you submit the proper supporting documents.
Do You or a Loved One Have Parkinson’s Disease?
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients apply for and receive disability benefits. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.