Parkinson’s disease affects over 1 million people in the United States and over 6 million people worldwide. It is a neurodegenerative disorder – meaning it affects one’s nerves and nervous system.
If you have Parkinson’s, the neurons in part of your brain are affected, causing a decline in your nervous system’s functionality. The underlying cause of Parkinson’s is uncertain, and at this time, it remains incurable, though there are treatments that might help to improve your symptoms and quality of life substantially.
Applying for SSDI: Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms and Treatments
While every person will experience Parkinson’s Disease differently, many will experience some of the same symptoms. You may notice some initial subtle signs during the early stages, such as balance issues, minor tremors, slower movements, muscle stiffness, difficulty smiling and blinking on command and changes in speech and writing. These symptoms typically become progressively worse over time, and worsen at different rates in each person. The ability to walk, ability to balance, and/or ability to rise to standing from a seated position will often be affected. Concentrating on tasks can become difficult for many people with Parkinson’s.
Treatment will also vary with each person and it can take some time for doctors to find the right balance of medication doses and therapies. You will likely be prescribed various medications to manage your symptoms as a way to improve your quality of life. Side effects from prescription medications used to treat Parkinson’s may be significant for some people and should be discussed with your doctor.
Patients with Parkinson’s will need to see their doctors regularly, and also may need to follow a rigorous therapy program, such as speech therapy, physical therapy and therapy as provided by a mental health professional. In some situations, brain stimulation through a surgical procedure may be performed.
Does Parkinson’s Disease Qualify Me for Disability Benefits?
Parkinson’s disease is discussed in the Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book” listing of disabling conditions, in Section 11 (Neurological Disorders) under paragraph 11.06 (Parkinsonian syndrome).
If you have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease that directly affects your work functions, you could very well receive SSDI benefits.
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Remember, you don’t need to exactly meet a Blue Book listing to qualify for disability benefits. Because, at the end of the day, what the SSA generally cares about most is whether or not your Parkinson’s disease meets certain requirements, including:
- That it rises to the level of a “severe impairment”, meaning it impacts your ability to do work;
- That it, combined with any other impairments you may have, prevent you from sustaining work;
- That it has affected you, or is expected to affect you, for at least one year (or to result in death).
If that is the case, then you may very well qualify for monthly disability benefits.
If you or a loved one have Parkinson’s Disease and are considering a claim for disability benefits, we recommend you read our articles about the process of applying for SSDI and the way the Social Security Administration uses their Sequential Evaluation Process to determine disability.
This article is presented for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Medical decisions (including whether to start, stop, or modify any treatment plan) are extremely important and should always be made with the advice and counsel of a qualified medical professional.
About Citizens Disability, LLC:
Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800)492-3260.