Evidence Needed Related To Your Peripheral Neuropathy
The first type of medical evidence that the Blue Book directly requests is a complete medical history of your neuropathy. While there are a few specific tests for peripheral neuropathy, obtaining detailed medical records from your neurologist is of vital importance.
Records should include your presenting symptoms, the history and progression of your disease, as well as the results of a full physical examination. These may include:
- Electrodiagnostic Testing: This includes Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Velocity tests
- Quantitative Sensory Testing : Test used to assess damage to nerve endings
- Nerve Biopsy: May be done to determine the type of nerve damage
- Autonomic testing: May include sweat tests, heart rate, tilt table, and blood pressure monitoring
- Imaging results: CT scans or MRIs to rule out any compression, tumors, or other abnormalities.
According to the Blue Book, certain physical limitation criteria would make you eligible for disability benefits. Be sure that your neurologist documents any physical limitations including, but not limited to, the following:
Request For Reconsideration With Neuropathy
If you have had your disability claim for neuropathy denied, you will need to file your appeal by the deadline and provide additional supporting evidence. You may benefit from including a residual functional capacity form completed by your physician. This form details what you can and cannot do, so the disability examiner will be able to determine if you are capable of working, and if so, what kind of job you can do.
If your claim is once again denied during the request for reconsideration, you will want to ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Your chances of your claim being approved increase significantly at the hearing level.
If your claim is denied again by the administrative law judge, you can once again appeal. Your claim can advance to the appeals council and even on to federal district court for review.
Va Disability Ratings For Peripheral Neuropathy
The VA doesnt have a diagnostic code for peripheral neuropathy, so the VA rates the condition based on the nerve involved.
For example, nerve damage can involve the peroneal nerve, sciatic nerve, or femoral nerve. The common peroneal nerve is derived from the lumbar and sacral spine regions as a part of the sciatic nerve. The VA may rate this under diagnostic code 8521 under 38 CFR § 4.124a, the schedule of ratings for neurological conditions and convulsive disorders.
This ratings schedule branches off down the extremities into the foot. If the common peroneal nerve is damaged and the veteran has:
- foot drop and,
- slight droop of first phalanges of all toes, and,
- not able to raise the foot from the ankle, and,
- lost some movement of the toes, and,
Then, the veteran may be entitled to the maximum rating of 40% for that category for each extremity that is affected. If the damage is not as complete for a 40 percent rating, the veteran has to show that there is incomplete paralysis at three levels of severity:
Keep in mind that these terms have not been defined by the VA. As such, the veteran needs to inform their treating physician of all symptoms and impairments associated with the neuropathy so that the physician can render an accurate determination of the severity of the condition.
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Peripheral Neuropathy Secondary To Diabetes
Peripheral neuropathy often appears secondary to diabetes. In 2012, 29.1 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes. That number undoubtedly has gone up, because at that time there were 86 million Americans age 20 and older who were pre-diabetic. Veterans receiving service connected compensation for diabetes mellitus through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs are also eligible to receive disability compensation for any and all conditions secondary to diabetes. The complications and co-morbid conditions associated with diabetes are grouped into two categories: macrovascular and microvascular.
Getting Your Paperwork In Order
To make sure the process is streamlined, its helpful to compile your medical paperwork in advance.
According to Thomas Giordano Jr., founding partner at Pond Lehocky Giordano, a Philadelphia law firm that often consults on Social Security disability issues, this includes things like:
- date of original diagnosis
- work history
- treatments related to your diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be a disabling condition that may be causing you to be unable to work, or unable to sustain consistent employment because youre experiencing pain or complications, and so its important to understand you may be eligible for benefits, he says.
To qualify, you must be able to provide as much information as possible about your medical treatment, he adds.
Information about your day-to-day activities is important, but be especially diligent in obtaining medical records and documentation, he says.
Consistency of treatment for type 2 diabetes is not only important for management of the condition, but will also demonstrate the severity of your condition for SSA, Giordano says.
Also let your doctors, colleagues, and family know youll be going through the application process.
The SSA gathers input from healthcare providers as well as the applicant, and sometimes asks for additional information from family members and co-workers to determine whether you qualify as disabled based on SSA criteria.
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What The Insurance Company Needs From You And Your Medical Providers
Your insurance company will need to know which doctors have treated you for your small fiber neuropathy. They will need to get your medical records from those doctors when they are evaluating your claim. You may need to send those records yourself if your insurance company cannot get them from your doctors.
The insurance company will need to see proof of your diagnosis and your ongoing symptoms, as well as evidence of how those symptoms affect your life. Providing detailed documentation is key to a successful claim. Residual Functional Capacity assessments determine how you are affected by the condition and what you can do despite your limitations. It is used to determine what jobs you may still be qualified to perform. Make sure that you are as honest as possible with your doctors so that they can complete a correct RFC for you.
The Cost Of Treating Neuropathy
According to Cost Helper, peripheral neuropathy can be expensive to treat. If the symptoms are mild, a doctor could recommend something such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen over-the-counter which runs from $5 to $25.
If an individual has more serious problems, a patient will need pain management methods, including prescription drugs. Health insurance will usually cover this and you will be responsible for co-pays and coinsurance costs ranging from 10% to 50%.
Prescriptions can range from $20 to $400 per month, depending upon the drug and if it is generic or brand name. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a non-invasive medical approach in which a device uses electrodes to release electrical current.
This pain relieving approach usually costs around $700.
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Is Peripheral Neuropathy A Disability
Because peripheral neuropathy affects individuals in different ways not everyone who submits a claim for disability benefits will be successful.
You will be asked to provide adequate medical evidence that shows your symptoms are so severe that you are unable to work for at least the next 12 months.
Peripheral neuropathy needs to be listed in the Social Security Administrations Blue Book as well. It can be found in section 11.14 of the Blue Book.
Because peripheral neuropathy is not a standalone disease it is possible that you might qualify for benefits if your peripheral neuropathy is due to diabetes.
Your physician should carefully review the endocrine section, 9.00, to see if you are eligible to qualify for disability benefits under that listing.
There are several stages to peripheral neuropathy which are the following:
- Stage 1 is numbness and pain
- Stage 2 is constant pain
- Stage 3 is intense pain
- Stage 4 is total numbness and loss of sensation
Peripheral neuropathy may be considered a disability by the SSA if you the condition is likely to be present for at least 12 months when you are unable to work and you meet the medical requirements as described in the SSAs Blue Book.
As soon as you meet these requirements you should file your application for disability benefits including medical evidence proving peripheral neuropathy is a disability. Medical evidence from your doctors proving you are disabled is essential to winning a disability benefits claim.
How Bad Can Peripheral Neuropathy Get
If you have peripheral neuropathy and you do not address it with treatment, it could get worse. When peripheral neuropathy is left untreated, you could see more nerve damage in the affected areas that could become permanent.
For example, if you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, it could get worse If you do not treat it. You could develop m foot ulcers that could cause serious bacterial infections in your feet due to a lack of blood flow.
Because peripheral neuropathy attacks the nerves, it can get serious to the point where someone with peripheral neuropathy could develop paralysis if it attacks the motor nerves.
If left untreated and if it’s serious enough, peripheral neuropathy can get bad enough where it effects the heart. Peripheral neuropathy can affect some of the functions of the heart and circulation system when it affects these nerves leading to a serious condition, that is called cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy.
What starts off as a burning sensation and tingling in the hands and fingers, it left alone and untreated it could develop into something more serious.
Which is why at the first symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, it is recommended that you seek treatment from a doctor. If you are seeking treatment from a doctor and the symptoms are not getting better or are getting worse and you can no longer work because of peripheral neuropathy, then you may want to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
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Qualifying For Disability After 50 With Neuropathy
While not a disease in and of itself, peripheral neuropathy typically occurs as a result of another condition or injury, such as diabetes, that leads to damage of the peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy and can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the upper or lower extremities.
If you are living with peripheral neuropathy and it is so severe that it prevents you from earning a gainful living, you may be awarded Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
If you are over the age of 50, your chances of being approved for disability benefits are significantly higher than if you are younger. The Social Security Administration recognizes that employment opportunities, as well as ones ability to train for a new job, become increasingly limited as we age.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is the result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nerves help control movement and feeling throughout the body and also send sensory information to the central nervous system. When these nerves are damaged, it can cause weakness, numbness and pain, most often in the hands and feet.
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a number of different conditions. Diabetes is the most common, but it can also happen due to traumatic injuries, infections or exposure to toxins. In many cases, symptoms may improve if it is caused by a treatable condition.
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Should I Discuss My Case With A Disability Lawyer Or Advocate
Peripheral neuropathy affects each individual differently. If you are over the age of 50, you may have a better chance of being approved for disability benefits through the use of the grid rules. However, the grid rules are very complex and are open to interpretation.
Hiring an experienced lawyer or disability advocate will significantly enhance your chances of having your application approved. A qualified Social Security attorney understands the grid rules and can help to craft your case in a way that will improve the likelihood that you will be awarded the disability benefits that you deserve.
Disability claims can be challenging. If you enlist the help of an attorney who handles disability claims, the chances of having your claim approved increase greatly. You are three times more likely to be approved for disability benefits if you are represented by an attorney. When you retain a lawyer, you will not have to pay anything upfront.
Disability lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, which means that your lawyer isnt paid until your claim is approved and you receive back pay. At that time, your lawyer will receive 25 percent of your bac pay but no more than $6,000. Your lawyer will gather the supporting documentation and evidence and make sure everything is accessible by DDS for review.
How To Increase Your Chances Of Approval With Neuropathy
If you have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and you want to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits, there are things that you can do to improve your chances of approval.
The most important aspect of your claim is the medical documentation you provide, as this is the basis upon which the Social Security Administration will evaluate your claim.
The SSA will look at your application to determine whether you can return to the work you were doing before, you cannot adjust to new work and that your disability will last at least one year.
When you look at your application, you should make sure that it provides evidence that supports your claim that you cannot work.
The rule of thumb about what medical information you should provide in your application is this: Include everything. The more information you provide, the greater your chances of approval.
Your application should include a report from your doctor detailing your diagnosis and relevant medical history, the results of lab tests and imaging scans, your treatment plan, a list of all medications you are taking and any side effects you have experienced and any other information that will highlight how your diagnosis prevents you from working.
You should think of your application in terms of providing an explanation as to why you cannot work, with the documentation you provide serving as the proof.
A Guide To Disability Benefits And Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition affecting the way your body metabolizes glucose.
Type 2 diabetes can profoundly affect numerous systems in your body. It may lead to significant complications that can affect how well youre able to work.
For example, common long-term complications include:
- nerve damage
- heart and blood vessel disease
- kidney damage
- increased risk of Alzheimers disease
Because of issues like these, you may need to take unexpected, extended periods away from work. Or, the effects of type 2 diabetes could make it more challenging to look for flexible employment.
Fortunately, disability insurance from the Social Security Administration can replace some of your income, as long as you can demonstrate that youre unable to perform any type of work on a consistent basis because of your condition.
Medical Criteria To Qualify With Peripheral Neuropathy
An estimated 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of neuropathy, also called peripheral neuropathy. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary extensively from person to person. For some people, their neuropathy may only be a minor annoyance.
For others, neuropathy may be extremely painful and debilitating, rendering the individual unable to work. If your peripheral neuropathy is so severe that you are unable to work, you may be eligible to receive assistance from the Social Security Disability Insurance Program .
Because peripheral neuropathy affects individuals so differently, not everyone who seeks disability benefits will be awarded them.
You will need to present sufficient medical evidence that illustrates that your symptoms from peripheral neuropathy are so severe that you are unable to work now, or for the next year.
The Social Security Administration receives millions of disability applications each year. Your ability to provide an accurate application backed with timely medical evidence will impact your chances of approval.
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Can You Get Disability For Neuropathy
If you are unable to work because of neuropathy, you can be awarded disability benefits. You must be unable to work for at least 12 months and your condition must meet the Blue Book criteria. Peripheral neuropathy is listed in Section 11.14 of the Blue Book.
To medically qualify per the listing, your neuropathy must be characterized as one of the following and meet the applicable criteria
Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information
- Interacting with others
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
- Adapting or managing oneself
You must provide supporting medical evidence to support your claim and to confirm that your condition is severe enough to meet those criteria.
Medical Conditions That Qualify For The Disability Tax Credit
Any Canadian, of any age, who has a significant health condition, may qualify for the Disability Tax Credit. BMD specializes in helping Canadians with health conditions to obtain credits that they are due. The Disability Tax Credit can often bring over $25,000 to qualifying claimants. Disabled Canadians as well as those less affected, who have health conditions and are restricted in their daily abilities can benefit! Many Canadians with medical conditions qualify for this income tax benefit and are simply not aware that they do. BMD Services helps Canadians with Disabilities, as well as those with lesser restrictions obtain their tax benefits. These refunds are important to those who qualify as these can equal $25,000 in a lump sum, as well as $2,500 per year for current and future tax years.
Some common conditions that regularly qualify are:
- Slowed Walking
- Memory Loss, Confusion, Alzheimers, Dementia, Depression, ADHD
See our list of other common medical conditions that qualify for the DTC.
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