SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Filing a Social Security Disability Application - How to File & the Information that is Needed by SSA
Do you need a Lawyer at the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of benefits
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much is paid for the Social Security Disability Attorney Fee?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?
How do I check the status of my Social Security disability claim?
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Facts about Charcot-marie-tooth disease and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1. Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a group of related neurological disorders inherited through genetics. It affects the nerves, muscle bulk and strength, and sensation in the feet and legs. Occasionally it also affects the hands and arms as the disease progresses.
2. Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) is named for Jean-Martin Charcot, Pierre Marie and Howard Henry Tooth, who all originally described the condition. However, it has several other names: Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathy (HMSN), Hereditary Sensorimotor Neuropathy (HSMN), and Peroneal Muscular Atrophy.
3. In individuals who have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the nerves in extremities like the feet, lower legs, hands and forearms do not send proper signals to the brain, causing loss of sensation and muscle.
4. Charcot-Marie-Tooth causes weakness, muscle loss, loss of sensation, numbness and pain, and changes the structure of the foot to have extremely high arches and curled toes, leading to awkward gait, tripping, and difficulty lifting the foot.
5. Charcot-Marie-Tooth is a progressive disorder; symptoms continue to worsen and complications increase as individuals with the condition age, and also with significant emotional or physical stress. Progressed stages can include other areas of the body, causing trouble breathing, speaking and eating, and causing hearing and vision loss.
6. The condition usually first becomes apparent in teenagers and young adults. Initial symptoms tend to be foot abnormalities and difficulty walking. Specific symptoms, severity and progression all vary among different individuals.
7. Charcot-Marie-Tooth can be confirmed through testing. Genetic testing is the only way to be certain of the condition, although some types have not been identified in genetic makeup. Diagnosis is also made through taking a biopsy of a peripheral nerve and examining it for markers specific to CMT.
8. Tests also help show the extent of damage from the condition. Nerve conduction tests show how quickly and strongly nerves and the brain exchange signals, while electromyography (EMG) tests look at the affected muscles.
9. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a lifelong and currently incurable condition.
10. There are a variety of ways to help manage Charcot-Marie-Tooth. Prescription drugs can help with pain caused by nerve damage. Physical and occupational therapy, orthopedic devices, stretching and exercising, and keeping good foot care can all help delay nerve damage and muscle loss and prevent injury.
Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?
Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).
It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).
Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?
Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;
2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;
3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page