Approximately 20,000 Americans are currently diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP. Individuals are typically middle-aged or elderly, and the disease affects more men than it does women. Due to the debilitating nature of the condition, the disease often results in a complete inability to work. This can lead to significant financial hardship. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can offset some of the financial burden. If you have been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and you are wondering how Social Security Disability can help, the following information will give you the insight you need in order to get disability benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Condition and Symptoms
Progressive supranuclear palsy defines specific eye problems such as weakness and paralysis. Blurring of the vision is one of the first indications that an individual may have the disease. Palsy, or weakness or paralysis of muscles responsible for moving the eyeballs, are also affected by the disease.
Progressive supranuclear palsy is considered a brain disorder that initiates difficulty controlling balance and gait. Relatively rare, the condition is often diagnosed when an individual has difficulty focusing the eyes in a specific direction. Difficulty aiming the eye is typically caused by lesions on the area of the brain that is responsible for eye movement coordination.
The disease is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms often mimic other movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy include but are not limited to difficulty with balance while walking or standing and an awkwardness or stiffness of gait. Individuals diagnosed with PSP often fall, which may result in further injury.
Individuals who are diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy may also experience mood disorders, including irritability, apathy, outbursts and emotional extremes such as sudden episodes of laughter or crying.
As of today, there are no cures or effective treatments for progressive supranuclear palsy, although researchers have determined that some individuals respond to drugs that are often prescribed for Parkinson's patients, although the effects are temporary in nature.
Progressive supranuclear palsy is a progressive disease, meaning that it will essentially worsen, though rarely degenerates to the point where the condition threatens life. Individuals will experience decreased quality of life and ability to function and are more likely to suffer from complications including dysphagia and pneumonia. Fractures, traumatic brain and head injuries caused by falls are also common complications.
Causes of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Progressive supranuclear palsy is caused by damage and deterioration of brain cells in certain areas of the brain, but what causes this deterioration is currently unknown. One of the most common areas of the brain affected by PSP is the brain stem. This area of the brain is responsible for motor movement, and is also the area most affected by Parkinson's disease.
Researchers have discovered that individuals diagnosed with PSP have abnormal levels of the protein tau. To date, progressive supranuclear palsy has not been determined to be genetic in nature, nor is it contagious, nor does it affect one ethnic group more than another. Researchers have produced a variety of theories regarding the cause of PSP including genetic mutation, exposure to certain chemicals, or a virus that may infect the body. Some believe that the disease may be caused by free radical cell damage, although further study regarding this theory is currently underway.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
It is widely known that nearly 70 percent of the Social Security Disability claims received each year are denied by the Social Security Administration, resulting in the need for a disability appeal (which can take years to process). Fortunately, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is now one of the few conditions that qualify for disability claim processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines. Because of this, applicants who are suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years for benefits to begin.
When filing for disability, make sure that you answer all of the questions on the disability claim forms in their entirety. Do not leave any question unanswered and when you are answering questions, give as much detail as you possibly can avoiding simple “yes” or “no” answers. This will help the adjudicator who is reviewing your file understand why the claim qualifies for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines. You will also need to include sufficient medical evidence to prove your condition, including all medical records and a written statement from your treating physician.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Your Social Security Disability Case
Just because Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is included in the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Listings, do not assume that your Social Security Disability claim will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. While it is not common for the SSA to deny Compassionate Allowances claims, it has been known to happen on occasion. This is usually due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence or improperly filled out claim forms.
If you would like to increase your chances of obtaining a hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability claim based on a case of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, you should consider retaining the services of an SSDI or SSI lawyer. These professionals can help you with your disability claim to ensure a quick and hassle-free approval of your benefits.
To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowances listings or to find out if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, click here for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.