Peripheral neuropathy is a painful condition commonly affecting one’s feet and hands. In about 1/3 of cases the cause is unknown . Diabetes is frequently a cause as well as drugs to treat aids and cancer. It is often described as a burning sensation associated with numbness and tingling. The pain may be very intense and cause difficulty walking as well as affect balance since one may have difficulty determining where their feet are located due to loss of sensation. Besides the burning sensation, weakness in the legs may be present as well as possible loss of muscle mass. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of peripheral neuropathy involving the hands. It is due to compression or pinching of the median nerve at the wrist.
As one who has reviewed many disability cases over the years, I am familiar with the information needed to increase one’s chances for receiving benefits.
Does Peripheral Neuropathy Qualify For Social Security Disability?
Various examinations may provide a clue as to the diagnosis; The doctor may perform a monofilament test which tests one’s ability to feel the touch of a small plastic wire on their feet. Also, certain electrodiagnsotic tests such as an EMG may be done. Often, all tests may be normal and the diagnosis is made by a physical examination and the person’s description of their symptoms. The most common complaint is a burning pain in one’s feet and a feeling of numbness associated with difficulty walking due to pain and poor balance.
All this information is documented by the treating physician in his medical records and will be given to the state disability office called the DDS where your record will be reviewed and a decision made as to whether disability will be granted. The state records their conclusions on a form called the RFC which means residual functional capacity. This form states how many pounds you can lift and how long you can walk over a typical working day. In addition there is a choice stating if a cane is medically needed. It is very important that when visiting your doctor you stress how your symptoms affect your ability to walk. . If you have difficulty using your hands due to numbness, the main point is how well you can use your hands for grasping and holding objects as well as writing and picking up small objects with your fingers. A social security rule requires that your impairment must last 12 months or be expected to last that long. In some cases you may be very disabled in the beginning, but with treatment you may have shown considerable improvement which may result in a denial.
The state wishes to know how long you can stand and walk over a typical working day. It can be of great value if your doctor would write a letter giving his opinion as to how limited you are regarding standing and walking and if a cane is necessary due to pain and poor balance. Also, you should attempt to keep up your visits to your doctor so the state can determine your current status. Occasioinally, the state may require you to undergo a physical examination, called a CE exam which is paid for by the state. After his examination, the doctor will give his opinion as to how long you can stand and walk , plus if any assistive device is needed for walking. The state will also will ask how your impairment affects your daily activities such as ability to do household tasks, shop and care for personal needs.
If you are denied benefits, consideration should be given to seeking the services of a law firm familiar with disability cases since the process of applying can be confusing and quite complex.