Can I Get a Disability Benefit for a Genetic or Inherited Disorder?

Submitted by jam on Mon, 06/13/2022 - 08:33

Those with genetic or inherited disorders are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if they meet specific conditions. One of these is not being able to work for at least 12 months due to the genetic or inherited disorder. The other is the medical evidence that supports the sufferer’s inability to go to work.

Qualifying with a Genetic or Inherited Disorder

You may be able to file a claim for disability benefits if you have been diagnosed with a genetic or inherited disorder that is affecting your capacity to work. There are many disorders with these characteristics. For example, Huntington's disease is a degenerative brain disorder that causes nerve cells in the brain to break down over time.

The Symptoms and Limitations of Huntington’s Disease

Huntington's disease usually causes movement, and cognitive and psychiatric disorders with a wide variety of signs and symptoms.

Movement disorders

These can include both involuntary movement problems and impairments in voluntary movements, such as the following:

  • Involuntary jerking
  • Muscle problems, like rigidity or muscle contractions
  • Slow eye movements
  • Impaired gait which affects posture and balance
  • Difficulty with speaking and swallowing

Cognitive disorders

These include:

  • Difficulty with organizing or focusing on tasks
  • Lack of controlling impulses control that could include sudden outbursts, acting without thinking, and sexual promiscuity
  • Unaware of one's own behavior and ability
  • Slowness when processing thoughts or seeking appropriate words
  • Difficulty in learning new facts

Psychiatric Disorders

Depression appears to be common with Huntington’s disease and occurs due to an injury to the brain leading to alterations in brain function. Symptoms may include:

  • Withdrawing socially
  • Suffering from insomnia
  • Regular thoughts of death, dying or committing suicide
  • Fatigue and energy loss
  • Being irritable, showing sadness or apathy

The Blue Book listing for Huntington’s Disease

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the criteria and eligibility requirements found in Section 11.17 in the Blue Book when reviewing disability benefits applications for sufferers of Huntington’s disease. Eligibility requirements typically include disorganized motor function or chronic brain syndrome. These can be proved by medical evidence included in your application provided by your doctor.

Residual Functional Capacity Form

Even if your disorder does not fulfill the eligibility standards, you may be eligible for disability benefits if you can demonstrate that you are unable to work due to physical or mental impairments. This can be proved if your doctor assesses your physical and mental ability by completing a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. You will need to provide the results of the RFC to support your disability benefits application.

Free Case Evaluation

You can fill out a Free Case Evaluation form if you would like to seek help with your disability benefits claims due to a genetic or inherited disorder. An attorney may be able to help win a successful claim on your behalf.

Additional Resources