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Neurological Disorders and SSD

"Neurological disorder" refers to a disease of the brain, spine, and the nerves that connect them. There are over 600 known diseases of the nervous system, including:

  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Due to the fact that the brain, spinal cord and nerves make up the human nervous system, together they control not some, but all of the workings of the body. When a part of the nervous system is not working properly, you can have difficulty moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, and learning.

Neurological symptoms associated with common disorders:

  • ALS: The disease may include muscle weakness in the hands, arms, legs, or the muscles of speech, breathing, or swallowing. ALS may involve twitching, or cramping in the hands or feet, and impairment in the ability to use the hands or arms. "Thick speech," shortness of breath, difficulty with breathing or swallowing can also occur.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: A lifelong, chronic disease of the central nervous system that may affect one's ability to write, speak, or walk. Inflammation and scarring of the central nervous system disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body.
  • Parkinson's disease: The symptoms for Parkinson's disease may include: tremors, slowed movement (bradykinesia), rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, speech problems, and writing changes.

Defining a Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable impairment (physical or mental), which is expected to either result in death or last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

The SSA's Listing of Impairments describes impairments for each major body system, including neurological disorders. Such impairments on the Listing of Impairments are severe enough to cause severe functional limitations.

Listing of Impairments – Neurological Disorders

Under Section 11.01, the category of neurological impairments includes, but is not limited to:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy (convulsive and nonconvulsive)
  • Central nervous system vascular accident
  • Brain tumors
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy

What are the evidentiary requirements?

In order to file a disability claim for a neurological disorder, it will be necessary to provide medical evidence showing that you have an impairment, as well as the severity of the impairment. This medical evidence will come from sources that have treated or evaluated you for your impairment.

Acceptable sources for medical documents include:

  • A licensed physician
  • Licensed or certified psychologists
  • Licensed optometrists
  • Licensed podiatrists (for establishing impairments of the foot or ankle)
  • Qualified speech-language pathologists

Currently, the SSA emphasizes the importance of making determinations based on medical evidence from treating sources because treating physicians have the ability to provide a detailed picture of the patient's impairment and can provide a more detailed perspective that cannot be obtained from a brief hospitalization.

The SSA will also investigate the claimant's complaints in regards to:

  • The claimant's daily activities;
  • The location, frequency, duration, and intensity of pain;
  • Types, dosage, and side effects of medications;
  • Any aggravating factors;
  • Measures used by claimant to relieve pain; and
  • Other relevant factors concerning claimant's functional limitations due to pain and other symptoms.

Contact a Las Vegas Social Security Disability Attorney

You have worked long and hard to provide for yourself and your family. If you are suffering from a neurological disorder, it is absolutely life-changing and you deserve to receive the full Social Security disability benefits that you are entitled to.

At Disability Action Advocates, our legal team is intimately familiar with the Listing of Impairments and all neurological disorders on that list. We care about your health and your financial wellbeing, we urge you to contact a Las Vegas Social Security disability representative from our office to discuss your case in a free case evaluation.