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3 neurological disorders that may be eligible for SSD


Neurological disorders can have devastating physical and mental impacts. As any Tennessee disability attorney is aware, these disorders often impair a person's ability to perform basic activities. When neurological disorders prevent gainful employment, Social Security Disability benefits may be available. The Social Security Administration recognizes many neurological disorders as disabling, including the following three.

  1. Parkinsonian Syndrome

Parkinsonian Syndrome causes reduced dopamine production in the brain, which affects movement. Victims may experience tremors, reduced mobility and slowed movements. Medication can address certain symptoms, but Parkinsonian Syndrome is incurable and progressive.

Parkinsonian Syndrome is automatically considered disabling if victims document certain symptoms. The disorder must produce stiffness, slowed movements or tremors in two extremities. These symptoms must affect the victim's ability to move limbs, perform fine motor tasks or walk.

People who develop dementia along with Parkinsonian Syndrome may qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program. As a Tennessee Disability attorney can explain, this program expedites claim processing for conditions that typically merit SSD benefits.

  1. Lou Gehrig's disease

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, causes degeneration of brain and spinal nerves. The disease initially causes muscle weakness, followed by atrophy, loss of voluntary control and paralysis. There is currently no cure or treatment for ALS.

ALS victims may qualify medically for SSD benefits based only on a diagnosis. Since no single test can support this diagnosis, applicants must provide the following evidence:

  • Relevant medical history
  • Tests to rule out other disorders
  • Neurological findings that support the diagnosis

Claims involving ALS also qualify for expedited processing through the Compassionate Allowances program.

  1. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder in which electrical disturbances in the brain cause seizures. Seizures may produce disorientation, loss of muscle control and unconsciousness. These effects can make daily activities difficult or dangerous. There is no cure for epilepsy, but medication may mitigate symptoms.

Convulsive and non-convulsive epilepsy may automatically be considered disabling if certain symptoms are evident. Convulsive epilepsy must cause monthly daytime seizures or nocturnal episodes that produce fatigue. Non-convulsive epilepsy must cause weekly seizures, resulting in unconsciousness, abnormal behavior or other disruptions of daily activities.

These symptoms must occur despite three months of approved treatment. Applicants must also provide a physician's description of a typical seizure. The description can be based on personal observation or witness statements. The description should note symptoms, resulting injuries and lingering effects.

Claiming benefits

If the above requirements are not met, people with these disorders may still qualify for SSD benefits. The SSA awards medical-vocational allowances based on direct evaluations of how a condition affects functional ability. However, documenting these effects can be challenging. People claiming neurological conditions may benefit from partnering with a Tennessee disability attorney during the application process.

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