Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Facts about Peripheral Neuropathy and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1. Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system, which means all nerves that are not in the spinal cord or brain. Most often this affects the feet, legs, hands and arms that causes sensations of numbness, tingling and pain. This damage may be due to nerve disease or side effects of other illnesses.
2. Peripheral neuropathy is often caused by diabetes, particularly in cases where there is damage to multiple nerves. Around half of all diabetics will develop neuropathy.
3. Infections like Lyme disease, shingles and hepatitis C may lead to nerve damage. Other causes include nerve trauma from an accident, injury or repetitive motions; vitamin deficiencies, particularly B vitamins, vitamin E and niacin; alcoholism, which generally leads to vitamin deficiency; poison exposure, such as to metals and medications like chemotherapy; tumors that press on nerves; inherited nerve disorders; and autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Even spending time on crutches or with a broken limb in a cast can lead to peripheral neuropathy.
5. Peripheral nerves are responsible for sensory feelings like heat, pain and touch, as well as muscle movement, and automatic functions like blood pressure, heart beat, digestion and bladder function.
6. Peripheral neuropathy begins gradually and only gets worse without treatment. Usually symptoms start in the feet and hands and move upwards to the legs and arms. These symptoms include tingling, numbness, weakness, and heightened sensitivity.
7. Eventually symptoms can become much worse, including burning or sharp pain, loss of coordination and muscle control, and bowel and bladder problems.
8. Prevention of peripheral neuropathy includes carefully managing any condition, such as those listed above in numbers 1 & 2, that puts you at risk. Everyone, with or without an underlying medical condition, can prevent nerve damage by eating a well-rounded and healthy diet and exercising regularly. In addition, try to avoid repetitive motion, cramped positions, toxic chemicals and excessive exposure or consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
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: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews