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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

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Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

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Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

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

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Facts about Post Polio Syndrome and Filing for Disability

1) Post-polio syndrome (PPS) usually appears 30-35 years after the original poliomyelitis infection, usually affecting polio survivors between the ages of 35 and 60. There have been cases reported within 8 to 71 years after the original infection.

2) Symptoms for PPS include being tired and weak, muscular atrophy, and having muscular pain and extreme weakness in previously affected limbs. Sleep disturbances, sensitivity to cold temperatures and issues with swallowing or breathing are also symptoms.

3) Doctors do not currently know what makes post-polio syndrome happen to polio survivors, though many believe that over time the neurons become fatigued and nerve terminals malfunction. Others believe that polio survivors lose neurons at a speedier rate than those without history of the disease.

4) It can be challenging for doctors to diagnose PPS. The criteria are: gradual onset of weakness with motor neuron loss, previous polio, and partial or full recovery span after original case of polio.

5) There are no therapies to reverse PPS, and treatment is still being studied. For now, pain relief medications, plenty of rest, a healthy diet (and weight loss), and exercise specifically targeted to weak, fatigue areas are recommended. Sometimes equipment such as mechanical wheelchairs or braces can help.

6) PPS can affect the face muscles and make it hard for sufferers to swallow, breathe, speak, and eat. Breathing exercises, eating slowly and consciously, eating smaller portions, and quitting smoking can help.

7) Sometimes PPS is mistaken for ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a motor neuron disease characterized by progressively weak muscles.

8) PPS occurs in 25-50 percent of polio survivors.

9) Scientists are currently working on a variety of tests and studies involving the motor neurons, spinal cord, brain, muscles, neuromuscular junction and peripheral nerves, to help them understand PPS better.

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 and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria