Many people assume that a diagnosis with a chronic, progressive disability like Parkinson’s disease automatically entitles them to Social Security disability benefits (SSDI); however, a diagnosis is not enough. You must prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from regularly engaging in any work activity. Here is a list of evidence that will support your claim:
- Your medical records: Your medical records should include your diagnosis, documentation of your current symptoms and how they affect your ability to perform daily activities, and the results of any diagnostic tests that support your diagnosis. Your records should also contain information about treatment you have tried and any negative effects from your medication.
- A psychological evaluation: Many who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease suffer from depression or anxiety due to their condition. Documentation of mental health conditions associated with your diagnosis will help your claim.
- A recommendation from your doctor: It can help to have a separate letter from your doctor discussing the nature and frequency of your symptoms and his thoughts on your ability to work.
- A symptom diary: A symptom diary will show the SSA how your symptoms affect your ability to perform life activities. Take notes about your symptoms and how they limit your activities. If you have trouble writing because of tremors, make a note. Your diary does not have to be written. You can use a computer or a tape recorder.
For more information about applying for SSDI, request a free copy of Massachusetts disability lawyer John Keefe’s book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact Keefe Disability Law at 973-595-8900.