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Neurological Conditions Can Qualify You for Social Security Disability Payments

Despite centuries of scientific research, medicine still does not completely understand the workings of the human brain and nervous system. Most of the time, our imperfect knowledge doesn’t make much difference in the day-to-day treatment of routine problems.

However, occasionally, people suffer from severe chronic or acute neurological conditions that cannot be fully cured. In some cases, our best-known treatments can provide only partial or temporary relief. If you are a patient with one of these disabling conditions, and your condition is expected to last at least a year or until the end of your life, then you may be eligible to collect federal disability benefits under the Social Security program.

Neurological ailments and Social Security

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program was established in the late 1950s to prevent disabled Americans with a good work history from falling into poverty. SSDI benefits are not generous, but they are enough to help you supplement your income and maintain a household despite your being unable to work. SSDI is not a charitable gift or a welfare program; it’s an insurance benefit for qualified individuals that you contributed to during your working career.

Neurological conditions—signs of a serious malfunction in the nervous system—can be sufficient to make you eligible for SSDI benefits if your ailment prevents you from doing the work you used to do, or any other work.

Neurological ailments can arise from many causes, including:

  • Physical trauma leading to a brain injury, spinal cord injury, or damage to nerves. Example: quadriplegia following injury to the cervical spine.
  • Infections by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Examples: viral meningitis, encephalitis.
  • Respiratory system problems. Example: diffused cerebral hypoxia (death of brain cells due to oxygen deprivation) after patient is trapped under water for a significant period of time.
  • Circulatory system problems. Examples: aphasia (diminished ability to speak, read, or write) following a stroke; aneurysm.
  • Tumors. Examples: brain cancers.
  • Degenerative central nervous system disorders. Example: Parkinson’s disease.
  • Complex disorders with no clearly understood cause. Examples: multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia.

If you have a neurological condition that makes you unable to engage in substantial gainful work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits in Pennsylvania. Some neurological conditions are sufficiently grave that they are automatically qualifying impairments. Included among these are:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Brain tumors
  • Central nervous system vascular accidents
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cerebral trauma
  • Degenerative diseases such as Huntington’s Chorea, Friedreich’s ataxia, and spinocerebellar degeneration
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Parkinsonian syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Spinal cord or nerve root lesions
  • Syringomyelia
  • Other conditions must be established as sufficiently disabling on a case-by-case basis.

Most applicants are denied benefits. Will you get the benefits you need?

Only about 30 percent of the people who apply for Social Security disability benefits will have their applications approved on the first try. Others must reapply or appeal a negative decision. Each round of case reviews can take months, and yes, some applicants have died before their benefits have been approved.

A Harrisburg Social Security lawyer can be of great assistance here. The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are familiar with the application process and qualifying medical conditions. We can frame your application or Social Security disability appeal in order to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.

If you’re ready to get serious about claiming the disability benefits you are due, call us at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free to schedule a confidential review of your case. We regularly work with clients from across Pennsylvania on disability matters.