Published on: October 28, 2020
A degenerative brain disorder, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can result in numerous motor problems that range from minor muscle stiffness to severe difficulties with standing or speaking clearly. If you or a loved one has had a recent Parkinson's Disease diagnosis or has had the disorder for a while now, you may know how difficult - or impossible - it is to hold a job with the disease. You may be wondering if you can receive disability benefits for Parkinson’s, or Parkinsonian Syndrome diseases.
Symptoms Of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive condition, which means it starts with minor symptoms, such as hand tremors, but progressively gets worse over time. It’s a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system.
The disease is the result of the death of neurotransmitters, which affect motor symptoms and eventually cognitive functions. Typically, Parkinson’s Disease symptoms begin on one side of the body, with that side having more severe symptoms than the other. Most cases have no known cause. While some Parkinson’s cases have been found to be genetic, most are unknown.
The most common motor symptoms of the disease include:
- Slowness of Movement: Also known as Bradykinesia, fine motor skills begin to slow down. Common actions such as buttoning, writing, and putting on clothing become increasingly difficult as the disease progresses.
- Rigid Limbs: Excessive muscle contraction results in rigid arms and legs.
- Postural Instability: Balance can be affected as the disease progresses, leading to possible falls and bone fractures.
The symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease are known collectively as Parkinsonian Syndrome (PS). While most Parkinsonian Syndrome cases are caused by the disease itself, there are other medical disorders that can result in PS. These include brain trauma, brain infections, brain disorders caused by strokes, drugs, and brain tumors.
Parkinson's Disease Treatments
Parkinson’s Disease is currently incurable, but there are treatments and medications that can alleviate the symptoms with varying degrees of success.
Physical therapy can aid with maintaining muscle flexibility and strength, while drugs can help solve the movement problems associated with the disease. Some patients have responded well to electrodes planted within the brain, which provide relief from symptoms such as tremors.
Do Parkinsonian Syndromes Qualify For Disability Benefits?
According to the SSA’s Blue Book, Parkinson’s Disease is considered a disability and is a qualifying medical condition for disability benefits. In fact, the disease is listed within the collective name of Parkinsonian Syndromes in section 11.06 of the Blue Book. So, if you have signs of Parkinsonian Syndrome and not Parkinson Disease, you may still qualify for disability benefits.
To meet the SSA’s requirements for disability benefits of the disease, you must be able to meet the following despite taking prescribed treatment for three consecutive months:
- Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, that results in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up in a seated position, balance while standing or walking or use the upper extremities.
- Marked limitation in physical functioning and in one of the following:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
- Interacting with others; or
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
- Adapting or managing oneself.
If you meet these qualifying conditions, then you may be able to receive disability for Parkinson’s Disease. Remember to provide all the necessary medical records and documentation for the SSA to provide that your condition matches the Parkinson Syndrome listing in the Blue Book. By providing the right information, you can receive the disability benefits you deserve.
Unfortunately, many applicants with qualifying conditions are denied Social Security disability benefits because they have not provided enough documentation or submitted incomplete paperwork. An expert disability advocate can make sure all your necessary paperwork is accounted for and submitted accurately the first time. Want to speak with an experienced disability advocate? Contact us today!