The symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease like tremors and rigid limbs can make it impossible to work. If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease you can apply for Social Security disability benefits to make it easier to pay for living expenses and to make ends meet since you cannot work. The only requirement that must be met in order for you to file a claim for disability benefits is that you expect to be unable to work for at least one year. To get your application for benefits approved you will need to qualify for benefits based on your illness.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Parkinson’s Disease
If you have Parkinson’s disease and you file a claim for disability benefits in order for your claim to be approved you will need to provide medical documentation that your condition meets the standard set in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. The Blue Book lists all of the conditions that qualify for disability benefits and the requirements needed for each condition in order to get approved. You will have to provide a diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease as well as medical documentation proving that because of Parkinson’s you have:
- The inability to control the movement of at least two extremities (either an arm and a leg or two arms or two legs), despite at least three months of treatment. This must result in extreme difficulty in the ability to balance while standing or walking, to stand up from a seated position, or to use the arms.
- “Marked” physical problems along with a “marked” limitation in any one of the following:
- thinking (understanding, remembering, or applying information)
- interacting with others (social problems), or
- finishing tasks (problems with concentration, persistence, or speed).
Residual Functional Capacity and Disability Benefits
When you fill out a claim for Social Security disability benefits you can ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. This evaluation is performed by the SSA to determine if there is any kind of work that you can reasonably do. The evaluation will look at your skills and your symptoms to see if you can work full time at another type of work. If you can’t work full time because of your symptoms even though you don’t meet the Blue Book requirements, then your claim can still be approved.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Parkinson’s Disease
If you need assistance filling out the application for disability benefits or asking for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation the best thing to do is make an appointment at your local SSA office. Bring copies of all of your medical records to the appointment with you and a staff member at the SSA will help you fill out the application and request a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation if you need one.
Cendy Moliere is an Outreach Specialist at Disability Benefits Center, an independent organization dedicated to helping people of all ages receive the Social Security disability benefits they deserve.