What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy, more commonly called peripheral neuropathy, is a term used to refer to a variety of diseases that cause the peripheral nervous system to malfunction. The peripheral nervous system includes all nerves that are not in the brain or spinal cord and their associated pathways.
In some cases, neuropathy develops gradually. In other cases, it comes on quite suddenly. Its major symptoms include a loss of muscle, muscular twitching, weakness, sensory changes, and changes to the autonomic system.
Many people with peripheral neuropathy experience muscle spasms and cramping.
Other problems commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy include: an irregular heart rate, abnormal blood pressure, loss of perspiration (ability to sweat), numbness, tingling.
People with neuropathy sometimes notice a sensation that has been described as being like wearing an invisible sock or glove. In some cases, it also causes extreme touch sensitivity.
The Social Security Administration lists peripheral neuropathy in its Blue Book, or the SSA's list of disabling conditions. Because of this, there are specific criteria SSA adjudicators use to determine if your neuropathy is severe enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.
These criteria include paralysis, ataxia, tremor, and involuntary movement in two or more limbs. If you have one or more of these symptoms, you are likely to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits as long as your claim makes this clear.
Neuropathy and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work
A number of symptoms associated with neuropathy can make it difficult or impossible to perform physical work. Paralysis and ataxia can affect your ability to walk, bend, lift, or perform many of the actions required for physical labor.
If you experience touch sensitivity, make sure that is thoroughly documented as well. Touch sensitivity, if it is severe enough, can make it impossible to do any job in which you may be bumped or jostled. This obviously rules out the vast majority of existing physical jobs.
Make sure that your medical records include all specific limitations your doctor places on your activities, as well as all daily activities that are affected by your neuropathy. Limitations should be very specific, and should include any limits on standing, walking and lifting.
Neuropathy and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
Peripheral neuropathy sufferers are often incapable of performing even sedentary work. Besides the fact that nerve damage can cause sitting for long periods of time to be very painful, the condition often affects fine motor skills, making it impossible to do many of the tasks required in sedentary jobs.
Contact a Social Security Attorney Today
If your neuropathy is affecting your ability to work, you may want to seek the counsel of a Social Security attorney.
Hiring a Social Security attorney can greatly increase your chances of receiving disability benefits and is a valuable resource to have on your side. To speak with an attorney in your area today, take our Free Disability Evaluation