It would be nearly impossible to list every possible neurological problem which could cause you to qualify for Social Security Disability. In the eyes of the SSA, you are qualified for Social Security Disability if you have any neurological problem that makes it impossible for you to engage in any gainful employment. As with any other disability, a neurological disorder must be long term (expected to last more than a year or end in your death) to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.
Many neurological problems have specific SSA guidelines regarding what exactly is considered acceptable for Social Security Disability benefits. In many cases, before total disability can be determined, you will need to demonstrate that you have been under the care of a physician; have taken all prescribed medicines; and your symptoms are still bad enough that you cannot be expected to perform work on an ongoing basis. This sometimes takes several months of observation and requires keeping track of all symptoms.
Some of the more common neurological problems (for which the SSA has specific guidelines) include: migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis (MS), brain tumors (benign and malignant), epilepsy, persistent motor function disorganization, traumatic brain injury, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and spinal chord/nerve lesions. While this list is by no means exhaustive, these are the most common neurological problems approved for Social Security Disability benefits.
While it is beyond our scope to go into all of the particulars of each disorder and what you must do in order to demonstrate that you have a long term, total disability, you will need to keep a journal of all symptoms, including the duration, severity, and effect on daily activities. You will also want to document all attempts to work, especially if such attempts were hindered by your neurological disorder.
Most neurological diseases are treated with medication, and you must demonstrate that you have been taking all medicine prescribed. Often, this will include taking a drug test to ensure that a sufficient amount of all serums prescribed to you are in your blood stream.
The Social Security Administration will determine whether or not you qualify for Social Security Disability largely based on the documentation of your symptoms. This is especially true when it comes to neurological disorders which are episodic in nature (i.e., symptoms which are not constant, but happen periodically, such as seizures). Because those who suffer from neurological disorders typically can’t observe themselves when they are having an episode, it is important that you have someone who has witnessed your symptoms document their observations concerning the extent and severity of your neurological episodes.
Ideally, your doctor can help you and should be the one to record and report about your symptoms. Unfortunately, however, seizures and other neurological problem symptoms seldom arrive on a schedule, and it is not always possible for your doctor to report first hand knowledge regarding your symptoms. If your doctor has never seen your symptoms, you should include documentation by those who have observed your symptoms or episodes.
Some neurological problems are easier to diagnose and document than others. Because of this, the amount of time it takes for your Social Security Disability claim to work its way through the Social Security Disability system can vary from three months to several years. One of the best ways to make sure that your claim goes through as quickly and successfully as possible is to have a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer file your claim and any appeals which may be necessary.