Peripheral neuropathy symptoms can make working difficult and dangerous, especially when it affects the hands and feet. How this condition affects sufferers depends greatly on the location of the neuropathy and how it impacts motor skills and the senses. If your condition is so severe you cannot work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) for peripheral neuropathy.
At Berger and Green, our knowledgeable disability lawyers understand what it takes to get approved for benefits in Pittsburgh. We can evaluate your eligibility, check your claim and documentation to ensure they meet the strict criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and help you navigate the appeals process if you received a denial for your initial claim. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment at our Pittsburgh office.
When does peripheral neuropathy count as a disability?
The SSA only offers benefits for total, long-term disabilities that prevent you from working. To make it easier to identify which health conditions might meet these criteria, they publish a list of impairments known as the Blue Book. According to these criteria, you may qualify for SSD benefits if you suffer from:
- Problems with motor skills in two limbs, causing a problem with standing, balance, or using your arms and hands; or
- Major physical limitations and issues with normal cognitive, social, or psychological functions.
For example, if you have difficulty walking due to numbness in your feet and also have problems with recall and concentration that make certain job tasks impossible, you may qualify for SSD benefits under this second listing.
In some cases, you may qualify for SSD benefits even if you do not meet the specific criteria explained in the impairment listings. If your medical records prove you suffer from a health condition that prevents you from working your normal job or any other job you qualify to hold, you may receive approval based on a reduced functional capacity. To determine this, the SSA evaluates your ability to work based on specific functions, including whether you can balance, stand, walk, and lift. Contact our lawyers today for help determining if your peripheral neuropathy may qualify you for disability benefits.
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What type of documentation is the SSA looking for?
Knowing whether or not you meet the criteria to qualify for SSD benefits is only half the battle. You also need to ensure your medical records properly document your condition so the SSA gets the proof they need to grant you benefits.
As a part of the process while evaluating your claim, the disability examiner will request your medical records and other documentation from your doctors and therapists to include in your claim file. It is important to supply them with accurate information about your medical providers.
The SSA expects to receive medical documentation of the severity of your peripheral neuropathy and evidence of how it impacts your abilities. This often includes your complete medical records, clinical examination records, any related pathology notes, and imaging scans like x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results, electroencephalography (EEG) tests, and others.
By letting us review your claim and medical providers before you apply, you may increase your chance of approval with your initial application. We cannot promise the SSA will grant you approval, but we understand their criteria and can ensure you did not make any missteps when completing the application.
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What types of SSD benefits could I qualify for?
There are two types of SSD benefits available to those who qualify based on an impairment that prevents them from working. One is for low income individuals while the other requires a certain number of work credits to qualify.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):SSDI pays a monthly benefit to those who have enough work credits and cannot earn more than the current substantial gainful income limit by working a job. For 2017, this limit is $1,170 per month.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI):SSI pays out monthly benefits to qualifying applicants with a low income and few financial resources whether or not you have a work history.
If you qualify for SSI, you may also qualify for a number of other benefits from the state or federal government. This includes health insurance coverage through Medicaid.
What can I do if the SSA denies my claim?
Despite making your best effort to complete the application and provide documentation, the SSA still sometimes denies qualified applications because of application mistakes and missing evidence. It is important to remember this is not an uncommon scenario. We can often help people secure the benefits they deserve through the appeals process. You can also receive back pay to cover the time spent filing your appeal.
If you receive a denial letter, you need to call us as soon as possible. We have a short timeframe to analyze your claim, determine the issue, gather evidence to support your case, and request a hearing before your chance to appeal expires.
In most cases, we can get qualified applications approved in an appeals hearing. At this hearing, we present your claim and the relevant documentation to an administrative law judge. This judge looks at the facts of your case and rules based on the SSA’s criteria. If necessary, we can continue the appeals process after this hearing. However, we are typically able to get a satisfactory result for most clients in this hearing.
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How can I reach a Pittsburgh disability attorney about my claim?
At Berger and Green, we can help you get SSD benefits for peripheral neuropathy. Let us evaluate your initial claim before applying or call us about your denial. We know what the SSA is looking for in a qualifying claim and can help you document your condition to meet their criteria. Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 to learn more.