People who suffer from Parkinson’s disease may be left with severe disabilities that prevent them from returning to their jobs. A progressive and degenerative condition, Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system and results from cellular death in the midbrain region. When workers suffer from the disease, they may be permanently unable to work and may need to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.
The etiology of most cases of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. Some appear to have a genetic basis, but the cause of the condition is not clear. As the cells of the midbrain die, people who suffer from the disorder experience a number of symptoms that increase in severity over time. During the early stages of the disease, people may have tremors that start in one hand when the hand is resting. The tremors and other symptoms may begin on one side of the body, and the sufferer may have symptoms that are more pronounced on that side than on the other as the disease progresses. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include limb rigidity due to prolonged muscular contraction; bradykinesia beginning with fine motor skills and gradually slowing other gross motor skills, including walking; and instability while standing or walking, which may cause falls and fractures.
With disease progression, people may demonstrate pronounced, stiff gaits. They may also suffer from cognitive deficits, anxiety, depression and dementia in the later disease stages. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but people may derive some symptom relief with medications or with electrodes that are implanted in their brains.
Parkinson’s disease is a listed condition by the Social Security Administration, meaning that if an applicant meets the specified diagnostic criteria as defined by the agency, he or she should qualify for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration states that people who have tremors, bradykinesia or rigidity in two extremities that affects their ability to walk, stand or move may qualify for benefits.
In order to receive SSDI, people must complete the applications and submit them along with medical evidence of their diagnoses and treatment. The medical evidence may include medical records showing continuing treatment, doctors’ notes, doctors’ statements about how the condition affects the applicants’ abilities to complete their job functions and statements from friends, family members or former employers about how the condition has affected them in their daily lives and at work. In order to help their clients to be approved faster, social security disability attorneys may help them to gather all of the medical documentation that may be needed to support their applications. If the Social Security Administration denies the claim, a social security disability attorney may help by filing an appeal of the denial and gathering additional evidence that can help support the claim in a hearing before an administrative law judge.
It is important for people who have Parkinson’s disease and who are applying for disability benefits to continue seeing their doctors and to follow all of the recommendations for treatment. The more evidence that people are able to submit with their applications or in their appeals, the likelier it is that they will ultimately be approved for social security disability benefits for the limitations that are caused by Parkinson’s disease.