Social Security Disability Insurance
Written by: Bruce L. Weider | 2.06.2024

Social Security Disability Benefits For Individuals With Neurological Disorders

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who suffer from neurological disorders. In fact, every year, more than six million people die due to a stroke, more than 50 million people have epilepsy worldwide, and it is estimated that there are around 48 million people with dementia. However, if you suffer from one of the many known neurological disorders, you may question whether you are covered by social security benefits. Although some neurological disorders are considered disabling by the Social Security Administration (SSA), to find out whether you can collect disability benefits due to a neurological disorder, contact the law firm of Bruce L. Weider, PC, by calling (734) 485-0535 and schedule a consultation to get the answers you need.

What Qualifies as a Neurological Disability?

Neurological disabilities cover a wide range of disorders, including learning disabilities, epilepsy, autism, ADHD, some brain tumors, and cerebral palsy. Some of these conditions are present from birth, while others are caused by infections, structural abnormalities that emerge later in life, tumors, and degeneration trauma. However, regardless of their cause, these types of disabilities involve the nervous system. Depending on where the damage or divergence occurs, it can impact the extent of a person’s vision, hearing, cognition, and movement.

What Neurological Disorders Qualify for Social Security Disability?

In terms of Social Security disability benefits, it is important to assess whether a neurological disorder is deemed eligible for these benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, there is a list of neurological conditions that could be deemed eligible for disability benefits. They include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Post-polio syndrome
  • Neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Meningitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

However, this list only indicates a sample of all the conditions that could be severe enough to qualify sufferers for Social Security disability benefits. To better understand if your neurological disorders qualify for disability benefits, consider speaking to an experienced Michigan Social Security disability attorney at the law firm of Bruce L. Weider, PC, and review in detail the facts of your case and the legal options you may have. 

Remember, Getting a Diagnosis Is Not Enough To Obtain Benefits

If you have been diagnosed with a neurological condition, you must understand that obtaining a diagnosis is not enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. In truth, this is usually the beginning of the process. This is because each of these conditions has its own specific set of criteria that will need to be satisfied in order for an individual to be granted disability benefits. 

What Is the Standard for Eligibility When It Comes To Determining Disability

According to the SSA, for a patient with a neurological disorder to qualify for disability benefits on the basis of their illness, the individual’s personal condition must be so severe that it stops the Social Security disability benefits applicant from engaging in work activities. The condition must also be long-term, meaning it is expected to last longer than a year or result in death. Because not all disorders are equally severe in every patient, before disability can be determined the SSA may also review a person’s medical and non-medical evidence to evaluate the severity of their individual symptoms.

What Types of Evidence Do You Need To Provide?

Generally, when applying for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to provide evidence to show that you have been cared for by a doctor, that you are following their medical recommendations and taking any prescribed medications, and that despite this care, you are still not able to work. The Social Security Administration may also take into account the following medical evidence to prove your situation:

  • Your medical history
  • Laboratory tests
  • Examination findings 
  • Imaging results, including X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

The results of any of these listed diagnostics will need to support a physician’s evaluation of the applicant’s condition, and any documentation available showing the severity of the condition’s typical presentation or progression In addition, non-medical evidence will also be considered when evaluating these conditions. This non-medical evidence includes statements from acquaintances, friends, family, and others about your impairment, restrictions, efforts to work, and other daily activities. Your own statements will also be taken into account, which is why it is important to keep a detailed record of your symptoms and activities over a period of a few months. This is especially helpful when an individual suffers from neurological disorders that are episodic, such as seizures.

A Reduced Capacity: Is It Enough To Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Individuals who do not have a neurological disorder listed on the SSA’s list of presumptively qualifying conditions may still qualify for disability benefits under other criteria. Given the breadth of symptomatology for many disorders, and the reality that familiar diagnoses are unlikely to ever cover all eventualities, the SSA does provide guidelines for individuals who meet their stringent criteria for “totally disabled” to apply for disability benefits on the basis of their degree of impairment, rather than on the strength of the medical diagnosis alone. 

Under these application protocols, the individual applying for disability benefits will need not only to provide evidence that they have a neurological disorder, but demonstrate that the degree of impairment it occasions for them prevents them from engaging in what the SSA terms “substantial gainful activity” – essentially, regular or semi-regular employment sufficient to earn at least a subsistence income. Here again documentation from physicians and other medical care providers who can speak to the individual’s physical condition and work abilities may be important, as well as testimony from others who have witnessed the range of the applicant’s “functional capacity” and may be able to shed light on their limitations in stamina, coordination, focus, or other areas of functioning typically needed to maintain most forms of employment.

Contact a Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney in Ypsilanti Today

If you have been diagnosed with neurological disorders that prevent you from working and you want to know more about your options when it comes to applying for Social Security disability benefits, contact the law office of Bruce L. Weider, PC, by calling (734) 485-0535 today and schedule a no-cost consultation to go over your situation and review the application process and the types of documentation you may need.

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