April is Parkinson's Awareness Month.

The month of April marks Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain. The condition leads to tremors, difficulty walking and impaired coordination. The condition most commonly develops in people after age 50 and it is one of the most common disorders that affect the nervous system in the elderly. While Parkinson’s disease can run in some families, it is not always an inherited condition.

In the United States alone, approximately 500,000 people are reported to suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Approximately 50,000 new cases are reported each year. While the cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, age is a risk factor.

Parkinson’s disease slowly destroys the brain cells that create dopamine. This chemical helps control an individual’s muscle movement and as the brain cells are destroyed, it becomes harder and harder for an individual to control their body. This leads to a loss of muscle function that progressively gets worse over time.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may be mild at first, but worsen over time. Symptoms include excessive blinking, constipation, drooling, difficulty swallowing, difficulty walking, muscle aches and pains, limited facial expression, rigid muscles, tremors, movement impairment, slowed speech and lack of body temperature control. As the condition worsens, Parkinson’s can lead to confusion, dementia, anxiety, hallucinations and memory loss.

Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Treatment involves trying to control the symptoms that a patient is suffering from. Those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease are usually unable to work as the condition progresses. If the individual has not yet reached retirement age, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Parkinson’s disease usually occurs after people have reached the age of retirement, but in cases where an individual is not yet eligible for Social Security Retirement benefits, an application for Social Security Disability should be filed if the Parkinson’s disease is preventing the person from maintaining gainful employment.

The SSA’s “Blue Book” Listing of Impairments does include Parkinson’s disease. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your condition must meet the criteria that have been outlined in this section of the “Blue Book”. In order to do this you will need to provide the SSA with sufficient medical evidence to support your claim.

Oftentimes the assistance of a Social Security attorney can help increase your chances of receiving SSD benefits without the need for an appeal. Nearly 70 percent of disability claims are denied by the SSA during the initial stage of the application process. This is commonly thought to be due to the fact that applicants do not provide the SSA with enough evidence to support their case and/or fail to fill out their claim forms properly. A Social Security Disability lawyer can ensure that your disability claim forms are filled out and submitted properly and that you provide the SSA with all of the evidence needed in order to prove the severity of your condition and your eligibility for SSD benefits.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to Parkinson’s disease, the resulting financial stress can be significantly alleviated with the help of Social Security Disability benefits. It is important that you apply for the benefits that you may be entitled to in order to get the financial assistance that you are entitled to from the Social Security Administration.