Was your Social Security Disability Insurance claim (SSDI) for Parkinson’s disease denied? If so, do not give up hope. There are ways we can help you prove your claim and win the benefits you need.
The nervous system disorder Parkinsonian Syndrome, commonly known as Parkinson’s disease is generally recognized as the condition that makes people’s hands shake. But if you or someone you love suffers from the illness, you know it goes far deeper than that.
Certainly there are tremors, but Parkinson’s disease can also impact a person’s ability to write and speak. It can cause muscles to go rigid so range of motion is decreased. It may be difficult to maintain balance or stand up straight, and any movement often takes far longer than it would for an unafflicted person.
In the beginning stages, many of these symptoms are fairly mild, but as the disease progresses, they intensify, making it difficult to live a normal life. For most people, work is impossible, so the SSA has chosen to recognize Parkinson’s disease as a condition that can qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.
How Do You Qualify for SSDI for Parkinson’s Disease?
There are two available methods:
- match the listing in the Listings of Impairments, or
- show that your medical issue is just as severe as something the SSA included in the Listings.
First let’s talk about the Listings. This vast document is basically the SSA’s encyclopedia of disabilities. In it, you will find both definitions for each of the conditions and criteria that you need to meet in order to qualify for Parkinson’s disability benefits. If you fail to meet these criteria, there’s still a secondary, 5-Step method which we explain in more detail below. That method, however, tends to be a far more complicated way to prove that you qualify, so you should always attempt to match a listing first.
Matching SSA Listing 11.06 to Qualify for SSDI for Parkinson’s Disease
Criteria for Parkinson’s disease under Listing 11.06 are pretty clear and straightforward. You must have the condition and display the following signs:
- Impaired motor function in two extremities that is persistent and severe and makes it difficult for you to move around or engage in more dexterous movements.
- Impaired physical function AND one of the following impairments:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying; or
- Interacting with others; or
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
- Adapting or managing oneself
How exactly do you prove that? One of the things that can help your case the most is to get positive results on a medical test that the SSA has recognized as relevant for Parkinson’s disease:
- Anorectal manometry
- Deep tendon reflexes
- Positron emission tomography of brain
- Valsalva maneuver
- Visual evoked responses
Positive results won’t win your claim by themselves, but they can greatly increase your chances.
Proving Parkinson’s Disease Is Just as Severe as Any Other Disability
Remember that matching a Listing isn’t the only way to qualify for SSDI for Parkinson’s disease. You can also attempt to prove that your Parkinson’s disease is just as disabling as something the SSA has already recognized and included in the Listings – this is known as proving equivalency. As in, your condition is equivalent to a disability even though it doesn’t directly match the requirements for one.
In this case, you must follow a Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process the SSA uses to decide whether you are disabled.
Because this process is a bit more complex and complicated when compared to simply matching a Listing, you want a knowledgeable and experienced disability attorney on your side – preferably one who has a track record of success in proving equivalency.
Together, your goal will be to use the Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process to prove to the SSA that you have been unable to work for 12 months or more because of your condition.
You must never give up. If you need assistance with your claim, or have been unfairly denied disability benefits, ask a lawyer who is Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law to help.
Find out what it takes to prevail in your SSD claim in our free ebook, The Social Security Disability Puzzle.