The purpose of Social Security Disability is to help support those who suffer from conditions that make it difficult or impossible for them to support themselves. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that the condition meet certain criteria to qualify for benefits. Therefore, the SSA has developed a system to categorize disabilities based on severity. The more severe a condition, the more likely it will be approved for disability benefits.
One of the conditions the SSA considers for benefits is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).
CMT is a term used to describe a group of hereditary conditions that affect the peripheral nerves throughout the body. The collective CMT group consists of several disorders, each with its own mutation, which attacks the nerves. The nerves in extremities like the feet, lower legs, hands, and forearms can’t send proper signals to the brain, causing loss of sensation and muscle.
The most common types of CMT begin to show the following symptoms before the victim turns 20 years old:
- Arch deformity (very high arched feet). Extremely high arches can make walking and standing for long periods of time excruciatingly painful.
- Foot deformity (inability to hold foot horizontal). Standing and walking—two things your job may require—may be difficult and painful.
- Loss of muscle/strength. “Skinny calves” is a term that may be used when the nerves in the lower legs affect muscle growth. The loss or retardation of calf muscles can make legs weak, shaky, and susceptible to injury.
- Loss of balance. The pain caused by the affected nerves could potentially alter your gait, while the loss of muscle in the calves can also cause instability.
- Symptomatic progression. As the condition worsens, the above symptoms may begin to spread and appear in the arms and hands.
Applying for CMT Benefits
It’s easy to see how the symptoms of CMT can affect a person’s physical ability to perform work duties. In addition to the unreliable nature of the physical effects, pain and discomfort can also cause issues. As a result, the SSA qualifies CMT as a recognizable condition, depending on the severity. However, just because you may have the disorder doesn’t guarantee benefits. To secure your disability benefits you will need:
- Medical evidence and diagnosis. When collecting evidence for your claim, you must show your eligibility by providing medical records, physician statements, and diagnostics that prove you have CMT.
- Proof of functional deficiency and its extent. In addition to showing your condition, you must also show how it affects your ability to work. If your foot is deformed to the point where you can’t stand, include photos and X-rays; if your instability has caused numerous issues at work, have your employer write a statement attesting to that fact.
- A reliable attorney to help you file your claim. Hiring a credible attorney is the best way to ensure your claim is completed properly and sufficiently shows a good case for disability approval. Furthermore, an attorney can help explain the process in detail as well as what to expect from your claim.
Contact our office today to speak with an experienced, knowledgeable, and highly dedicated disability attorney. We’ve helped thousands of claimants obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security disability benefits, and we can help you, too. Call 508-283-5500 now.