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Monday, August 12, 2019

Social Security Disability Benefits and Parkinson’s Disease

What Are the Requirements to Receive SSD Benefits if I Have Parkinson’s Disease?

Today, it is estimated that over ten million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Each year, 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with this serious disease. The risk of developing Parkinson’s increases with age and men are more than 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. 

Receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can be life-changing. While the progression of the disease is different for everyone, often those with Parkinson’s disease will experience worsening symptoms that may leave them unable to work or care for themselves at home. Recognizing the severity of the disease, the Social Security Administration has included Parkinson’s on its Blue Book of conditions that could entitle you to SSD benefits.

Parkinson’s Disease Defined 

Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disease that can impact movement. Often, the first symptom of the disease is tremors in the hands.  From there, stiffness or slowed movements may develop. As a progressive disease, the symptoms will typically continue to worsen. Patients may have trouble completing basic tasks. Your speech may become slurred. Your balance and posture could be affected, while you could lose the ability to perform unconscious movements like smiling. Continued advancement of the disease will typically lead to cognitive problems, which may include dementia and anxiety.

Parkinson’s is believed to be caused by the death of cells within the brain that contain dopamine. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are medications that could potentially lessen your symptoms or slow progression of the disease. These medications can be quite costly.

To assist those with Parkinson’s in covering daily living expenses, the SSA includes Parkinson’s in its listing of disorders eligible for SSD benefits. To receive benefits, you must be diagnosed and have documented at least two symptoms of Parkinson’s, which may include tremors, bradykinesia, and muscle rigidity. Additionally, you must meet the financial requirements, which means you cannot make over $1,220 per month working. 

To support your SSD claim, you will want to attach sufficient medical documentation. Testing that suggests Parkinson’s along with well-documented symptoms and prior medical treatments may support your claim. Consult with your SSD attorney for assistance completing your application so that you receive the SSD benefits you need.

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