When Does a Person With Parkinson's Disease Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Parkinson's disease, or Parkinsonian Syndrome, is a nervous system disorder that affects a person's movement. As the disease progresses, you may be unable to work, and you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Living With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disease, which means that the symptoms get worse with time. The most common early symptoms include body rigidity or stiffness and shakiness when the hands are at rest. Other early symptoms include fatigue, balance problems, slurred speech, reduced sense of smell, gastrointestinal Parkinson's Disease Paper Scrapsproblems, slowed movement, personality change, and lack of emotional expression. As the disease progresses, the symptoms get worse. Tremors and stiffness can affect the ability to move independently. Dementia may occur in the later stages of the disease.

There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but medications can help to control symptoms.

Social Security Disability Eligibility for People With Parkinson's Disease

In its early stages, Parkinson's disease rarely affects a person's ability to work. However, the progression of the disease can make it difficult to do many jobs safely and effectively. When Parkinson's disease affects your ability to earn a living, Social Security disability benefits are an option.

Qualifying for Benefits by Meeting Medical Listing 11.06

One way to qualify for Social Security disability is to satisfy the specific requirements included in Section 11.06 of the Blue Book Listing of Impairments. If you have received medical treatment for Parkinson's disease for at least three months, then you may qualify for benefits if one of the following is true:

  • You suffer disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in an extreme limitation in your ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use your upper extremities.
  • You have a marked limitation in physical functioning and one of the following: (1) understanding, remembering, or applying information; (2) interacting with other people; (3) concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or (4) adapting or managing yourself.

Qualifying for Benefits Because You Can't Work

You can still qualify for Social Security disability even if your symptoms of Parkinson's disease don't meet the precise guidelines of listing 11.06.

You will have to show that your condition is:

  • Severe enough to limit your ability to perform basic, work-related activities resulting in a residual functional capacity that keeps you from working.
  • Equal in severity to another condition in the Listing of Impairments.

The Social Security Administration will consider eligibility evidence such as your medical records, doctor's report, age, education, and prior work experience to evaluate your ability to work consistently and determine if there is any type of job that you can do, given your limitations. 

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits With the Help of a New England Social Security Disability Lawyer

The Social Security Administration's decision will be based on the evidence that you provide to support your claim. Unfortunately, many initial disability applications are denied because they are incomplete or lack required evidence.

Our experienced New England Social Security disability lawyers can help you prevent these problems by submitting a complete application the first time you apply.

While many Social Security disability law firms represent clients nationwide, we choose only to represent clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire so that we can help people in our community and work with just a few Social Security hearing offices.

We invite you to contact us today for a free consultation about your rights. If you live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Rhode Island, we would be happy to meet with you in our conveniently located Natick office or by phone. You won't have to wait for a call back from someone who can't answer your questions. Instead, our team is here to get you the information that you need quickly and conveniently.

Please contact us today to ensure that the Social Security disability benefits you've earned by working are protected.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer