Facts about Dysautonomia and Filing for Disability
These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.
Facts about the condition
1) Dysautonomia, also called autonomic dysfunction, is a general term used to describe various diseases or failures of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is in charge of many involuntary functions such as perspiration, digestion, heart rate, sexual arousal, blood pressure, body temperature, salivation, and more.
2) Dysautonomia can be a primary disorder, or it can transpire in combination with another disease, such as diabetes, and be a secondary disorder.
3) It is estimated that over one million people in the United States are affected with a primary autonomic system disorder.
4) The most common forms of dysautonomia are Orthostatic Intolerance, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Multiple Systems Atrophy, Pure Autonomic Failure, and Neurocardiogenic Syncope.
5) Although the cause of dystautonomia is not known, it is thought that it can be genetic, and also thought to be caused by a number of different things, from pregnancy and physical trauma, to viral illness, autoimmune disorders, degenerative neurological diseases, and brain injury.
6) Dysautonomia is a full-body disease that affects everyone differently. Main symptoms include vertigo, dizziness, headaches, nerve pain, rapid or slow heart rate, excessive fatigue and thirst, and panic or anxiety that are not caused by mental issues. Some people with dysautonomia will only have mild symptoms, while others may become fully disabled by the condition.
7) There is no treatment for dysautonomia, though medication is oftentimes found through trial and error, and used to combat specific symptoms. Unfortunately, not all medications work for all patients; some medicines that help some patients, may worsen the symptoms for another patient.
8) Many times dysautonomia will resolve itself within a couple of years, but sometimes it can cause central nervous system degeneration, especially when combined with Parkinson's disease, Marfan Syndrome, or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. For some reason, dysautonomia is linked to these three diseases, but medical experts have still not determined how or why.
Qualifying 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 and treatment notes that 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 also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.
In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.
Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits 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. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.
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?
There are several reasons but here are just two:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant's disability attorney or disability representative will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge.
Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.
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. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
Most popular topics on SSDRC.com
Social Security Disability in North Carolina
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI
Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims
Social Security Disability SSI Questions
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
How to get disability for depression
Getting disability for fibromyalgia
SSI disability for children with ADHD
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Related Body System Impairments:
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI with Multiple Sclerosis MS
Why Is It Hard to be Found Disabled for Social Security Disability or SSI for Seizures?
Do You Automatically Get Approved For Disability If You Had A Stroke?
Facts about Mini Strokes and Filing for Disability
Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Seizure Disorder, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Why is Charcot-marie-tooth not on the Social Security Disability list of impairments?
Charcot-marie-tooth disease and Filing for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Dystonia and Filing for Disability
Dysautonomia and Filing for Disability
Grand Mal Seizures and Filing for Disability
Narcolepsy, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Epilepsy and Filing for Disability
Hydrocephalus and Filing for Disability
Memory Loss and Filing for Disability
Facts about Stroke and Filing for Disability
If you apply for disability in Hawaii
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Hawaii