PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY & DISABILITY BENEFITS
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage to the nerves outside of the brain and the spinal column. People who experience peripheral neuropathy feel pain. They also feel numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations in their hands and feet.
They will often describe the sensation as feeling like “pins-and-needles” or like their hands and feet have “fallen asleep.” Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy can also impact digestion, urination, and your circulation.
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Learn more about benefits for diabetes here. However, nerve damage can also result from injuries, infections, or exposure to toxins. For example, if you have a herniated disc in your spine, then the herniation could cause sciatica and neuropathy. Likewise, it can occur as a radiation side-effect from cancer treatment. Neuropathy is painful.
If you have peripheral neuropathy and you cannot work for over 12 months, then you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Applying for benefits with our help is simple.
We will help you file your application for benefits online at the Social Security website. If you receive SSD benefits, then you will also receive Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits pay for your medical bills. Find out more about Medicare benefits here.
EXAMPLES OF PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
Peripheral neuropathy stems from loss of sensation in the limbs. While not being able to feel pain in your hands and feet may sound like an advantage. It is not. If you can’t feel pain in your hands, for example, you might not know that you are touching a hot stove.
Likewise, if you have a loss of feeling in your feet, you may not know that you stepped on a needle or nail. Initially, of course, you won’t feel the pain. However, the problem doesn’t really start with the injury. Instead, the problem happens when you don’t notice the injury.
For example, let’s look at diabetic neuropathy. Let’s say that you can’t feel a small wound on the bottom of your foot. Most of us are not in the habit of checking the bottom of our feet. That small wound, left without care, can turn into a sore and then an ulcer. If that ulcer becomes infected, it can infect your bone. Next, if you get a bone infection or gangrene, then you might have to have an amputation. Learn about whether you can reverse diabetes or neuropathy here.
Fortunately, wounds and ulcers can be treated with debridement (removing dead cells), antibiotics, and taking pressure off of the wound. If you have diabetic peripheral neuropathy in your feet and you get an ulcer, you will need to use crutches or a wheelchair until the ulcer heals.
Also, you will need to check the bottom of your feet every day to ensure the ulcer doesn’t get worse. You will need to use antibiotics and creams to heal the ulcers on your feet.
Diabetes and peripheral neuropathy are not going away. Neither is the use of amputation to stop the spread of infection. In 2021, more than 130,000 people with diabetes were discharged from the hospital after having a lower extremity amputation. Amputation and neuropathy can also occur after a pulmonary embolism.
Additionally, the CDC estimates that one in three American adults will have diabetes by the year 2050. Make sure, if you have diabetes, to take care of your feet. That way you will not suffer an amputation. Learn more about winning benefits for amputation here.
EXAMPLES OF MONONEUROPATHY
Damage to a single peripheral nerve is known as mononeuropathy. Physical injury from an accident is the most common cause. Other causes, for example, are prolonged pressure on a nerve, such as lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair for extended periods. Additionally, continuous, repetitive motions, like typing, can trigger a mononeuropathy.
Here are examples of other mononeuropathies that can cause weakness in the hands and feet:
- Ulnar nerve palsy occurs when the nerve that passes close to the surface of the skin at the elbow is damaged. The numbness is noted in the 4th and 5th digit of the hand.
- Radial nerve palsy is caused by injury to the nerve that runs along the underside of the upper arm and can occur with fractures of the humerus bone in the upper part of the arm.
- Peroneal nerve palsy results when the nerve at the top of the calf on the outside of the knee is compressed. This leads to a condition called “foot drop,” in which it becomes difficult to lift the foot. Your doctor will look for foot drop to diagnose this type of neuropathy.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Another common example of mononeuropathy is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve to the hand median is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.
For most people, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time. Typically, the pain from carpal tunnel syndrome occurs due to overuse of the hands in repetitive activity. Like typing or using the same motion thousands of times for wrapping or packaging items while working in a factory. Early on, you can relieve your symptoms by wearing a wrist splint or avoiding repeated activities.
If pressure on the median nerve continues, however, it can lead to nerve damage. To prevent permanent damage, your doctor might recommend surgery to take pressure off the median nerve.
SSA’S LISTING 11.14 FOR PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
The following listing is SSA’s criteria for benefits under the category of peripheral neuropathy.
11.14 Peripheral neuropathy, characterized by A or B:
A. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.
B. Marked limitation in physical functioning, and in one of the following:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
- Interacting with others; or
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
- Adapting or managing oneself.
In order to meet listing 11.14, you must have all of the elements of the listing under Part A or Part B. It is your burden to prove that you meet or equal a listing. In order to do so, you must have medical records that document each element of the listing. To learn more about how to win disability benefits and what information must be in your medical records, read here.
THE PART B CRITERIA UNDER LISTING 11.14 FOR PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY
Under listing 11.14, the SSA lists four categories of limitations. These four areas show the severity of your condition. They also allow you to win benefits if you experience mental limitations from your peripheral neuropathy.
As you can see under the Part A criteria, the SSA only focuses on how your peripheral neuropathy may impact your physical activity. If you have disorganization of motor function in two extremities, like both hands or both feet, then you might meet the listing.
However, you will only meet the listing if the impairment in your hands and feet is so extreme that it prevents you from standing up from a seated position. Or, from balancing while you stand or walk. If you have peripheral neuropathy in your hands, then to meet the listing you must not be able to use your hands. Clearly, the SSA expects you to have very severe nerve damage to meet this listing. The following sections look at the Part B rules in detail. You can learn more about how the Part B criteria applies in mental cases here.
WHAT IS AN IMPAIRMENT IN UNDERSTANDING, REMEMBERING OR APPLYING INFORMATION?
Understanding, remembering, or applying information. This area of mental functioning refers to the ability to learn, recall, and use information to perform work activities. Examples include understanding and learning terms, instructions, and work procedures. You must be able to follow one or two step oral instructions to carry out a task.
Additionally, you should be able to describe work activity to someone else, ask and answering questions, and giving explanations. Likewise, you should be able to recognize a mistake and correct it. You should also be able to identify and solve problems.
Furthermore, you should be able to use reason and judgment to make work-related decisions. These examples show the nature of this area of mental function. The SSA does not require documentation of all of the above examples in order to meet listing 11.14 for peripheral neuropathy.
WHAT IS AN IMPAIRMENT IN INTERACTING WITH OTHERS?
Interacting with others. This mental area refers to your ability to relate to and work with supervisors, co-workers, and the public. Examples include: cooperating with others, asking for help, handling conflicts with others, and stating your own point of view.
Other examples include sustaining conversation, understanding and responding to social cues. Also, you need to be able to respond to requests, suggestions, criticism, correction, and challenges.
Likewise, it refers to keeping social interactions free of excessive irritability, sensitivity, argumentativeness, or suspiciousness. These examples show the nature of this area of mental function. The SSA does not require documentation of all of the above examples.
WHAT IS AN IMPAIRMENT IN CONCENTRATION, PERSISTENCE, OR PACE?
Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace. This mental area refers to your ability to focus attention on work activities and to stay on task at a sustained rate. Examples include starting and doing tasks that you understand and know how to do. Also, you should work at a consistent pace and complete tasks in a timely manner. This will require you to ignore or avoid distractions while working.
Additionally, you must be able to change activities or work settings without being disruptive and work with others without distracting them. Sustaining an ordinary routine and regular attendance at work also shows the ability to persist at work.
Finally, you must be able to work a full day without needing more than the allotted number or length of rest periods during the day. These examples show the nature of this area of mental functioning. The SSA does not require records for all of the above examples.
WHAT DOES ADAPTING OR MANAGING ONESELF MEAN?
Adapting or managing oneself. This mental area refers to the ability to regulate emotions, control behavior, and maintain your calm in a work setting. Examples include responding to demands and adapting to changes. You should be able to manage your mental symptoms.
Also, you should be able to understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable work performance. Likewise, you need to set goals, make plans for yourself without the help of others, and maintain personal hygiene and appropriate attire in the work setting.
You should also be aware of normal hazards and taking appropriate precautions. These examples illustrate the nature of this area of mental function. The SSA does not require records of all of the examples in order to meet the listing.
HOW CAN YOUR PROVE YOU HAVE PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY AT YOUR HEARING?
The SSA might deny your case at the initial and reconsideration levels. Find out more about the stages of the disability review process here. If the SSA denies your SSD benefits, then you have the right to request a hearing. Your hearing will be before an administrative law judge (ALJ) from the Social Security Administration. The ALJ’s job is to look at your claim, review your medical records, and determine if you should be paid SSD benefits.
Medical Experts or ME’s often testify at SSD hearings. They are called by the ALJ to review your medical records. Also, they explain your medical conditions to the judge.
Additionally, they testify as to whether or not your peripheral neuropathy meets or equals listing 11.14. Similarly, an ME can be requested by your Social Security attorney. This is, however, mostly done in complex medical cases. Learn more about the medical expert at your hearing here.
PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY CAN IMPACT YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY
The residual functional capacity (RFC) is what is “found” at step four of the review process. Once your case is at the hearing stage, it is the ALJ who will determine your RFC. Find out more about what questions the judge will ask at your disability hearing here.
Your RFC can help you win benefits by showing that your cannot physical or mentally sustain a full time job. If you have peripheral neuropathy in your hands and feet, then it will impact your RFC. Learn more here about your residual functional capacity.
In assessing RFC, the ALJ must discuss your ability to perform work activities in an ordinary work setting on a regular basis (i.e., 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week). Also, the ALJ must describe the maximum amount of each activity you can perform based on the evidence in the case record.
Once the ALJ determines your RFC, he or she will turn to the vocational expert (VE) and ask if there are jobs you can perform considering your physical limits. The ALJ presents a hypothetical to the VE. Then, the VE testifies if you can work with the RFC found by the ALJ. Likewise, your attorney presents a hypothetical question to the VE. Find out more about why a vocational expert is at your hearing here.
For those who do not hire an attorney, they are left to ask the VE questions on their own. Obviously, those people do not have the training they need in order to understand what questions to ask. Since most cases turn on the VE’s testimony at the hearing, it is wise to hire an attorney to question the vocational expert.
CANNON DISABILITY CAN HELP YOU WIN YOUR PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY CASE
It can be difficult to prove that your peripheral neuropathy keeps you from working. For example, your symptoms must prevent you from working for over one year. Even though it is difficult, Cannon Disability Law can help you win your Social Security disability benefits.
We are happy to answer your questions. And, we will help you file your application for benefits. Contacting us and talking to us about your case is free. We will not charge you to review your case and tell you if you have a chance of winning.
Likewise, we will not charge you an attorney fee unless we win your case. If we do not win your case, then you will not pay an attorney fee. However, there are costs in every case that the client does pay. Typically, these costs are minimal. It is usually the cost of paying for a copy of the medical records from your doctor.
Unfortunately, many doctors are now using large companies to copy medical records. Those companies charge exorbitant fees. We try to keep costs low for you. But, you can help us by getting your own records in person. If the doctor uses a copy company, then it can cost a lot of money to get your records.
HIRE US FOR OUR YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
In the past 30 years, we have won millions of dollars in ongoing and past due benefits for our clients with peripheral neuropathy. If you want to win too, then you need to hire an attorney with the experience to win your case. Also, you need a guide to help you through the legal process.
Our lawyers can be your guide through the Social Security process. Hire us. Dianna Cannon has been helping people win benefits for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers also have many years of litigation experience. We have won over 20,000 Social Security hearings. You can trust us. We will do everything we can to win your SSD and SSI benefits. Additionally, once you win benefits you also receive Medicaid or Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits come with SSD benefits. SSI comes with Medicaid benefits. Learn more about Medicaid benefits here.
We have the legal experience to win your SSDI case. Additionally, we believe we are the best team you can hire to help you with your SSDI or SSI claim.
It is free to call and talk to us about your case. Hire the best firm you can find to help you apply for benefits. Contact us today. We can help you win benefits for peripheral neuropathy.