Neuropathy is a very common condition, affecting around 20 million people in the United States alone. Unfortunately, the commonness of this disorder is one of the reasons many applicants have difficulty getting benefits.
If your neuropathy application was initially denied, do not worry — almost 65% of all applications are denied, and it is far from the end of the road, if you so choose. Below, we will see why your neuropathy may have been denied, then explore how to get started when preparing for your hearing.
Potential Problems When Getting Benefits for Neuropathy
To see where your initial application may have strayed, we will compare your application to its corresponding listing in the Blue Book. This book lists all disabilities considered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to be “totally and permanently” disabling. In order to qualify for benefits, your diagnosis must align with its Blue Book entry.
Neuropathy is listed under Section 11.14 of the Blue Book: “Peripheral Neuropathy”. To meet the listing, you must either:
a) Show a lack of motor function control in at least two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in your ability to walk, stand, sit down, balance, or use your arms,
b) Show a marked limitation in physical functioning as well as with either understanding/remembering/applying information, concentrating/maintaining pace, interacting with others, or managing oneself.
Because these listings can be rather subjective, it is possible this is why your application may have been denied. When looking over your initial application, be sure that you get multiple tests (MRIs, CT scans, motor function tests in affected limbs, etc.) to highlight the severity of your disorder. Review each piece of paperwork and consult with a physician to learn what else you can provide to help your case. It is also important to go over the financial areas of your application as well, to be sure that didn’t impede on your otherwise-sound medical qualification.
Preparing for Your Disability Hearing
The best way to move forward from you application denial is to schedule a disability hearing as soon as possible. Disability hearings are conducted in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) and give you the opportunity to defend your case in court. Those with successful defenses can have their case decision overturned and start receiving benefits from their disability start date. To schedule your hearing, you can visit your closest Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) or call their number online.
When preparing your case, be sure to provide the following documents:
- your initial application
- the entirety of your medical history, including new versions of old medical tests
- updated financial documents (which may also have been a culprit in your initial denial)
- testimonials from old bosses, coworkers, neighbors, or close friends that can attest to the severity of your case
- descriptions of your daily activities and the the various ways in which neuropathy limits your normal life
Consulting with a Disability Attorney
When preparing for a disability hearing, there are few things more helpful than the legal expertise of a disability attorney. Their experience can help you to destress during the process, leaving confusing paperwork and case building to a person who does it for a living. And, even better, disability attorneys are federally regulated to work on contingency, meaning they can only take payment if they win your case.
To give yourself the best chance at getting benefits, consider a free consultation with a disability attorney before your scheduled hearing.