POST-POLIO SYNDROME & SSDI BENEFITS
IS POST-POLIO SYNDROME A DISABILITY?
Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a medical condition that affects people who had polio earlier in their lives. PPS can occur decades after the initial polio infection and it can cause disability. If you cannot work for one year or more due to your symptoms, then you can apply for benefits.
Post-Polio Syndrome is usually characterized by muscle weakness, fatigue, and pain. The disease can be a difficult to diagnose as its symptoms often mimic those of other conditions, like diabetes. While there is no cure for PPS, there are treatments available to help manage its symptoms. Understanding the symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome is important for early diagnosis and treatment.
One of the issues that is currently happening is that most people don’t remember the polio pandemic, because the vaccine eradicated the disease in the United States. However, there was a time when polio was disabling an average of more than 35,000 people each year. Specifically, children under 5 years old contracted the disease and it often resulted in paralysis. Because of this, parents didn’t let their children play outside or swim in public swimming pools for fear of the virus. Many children spent years living in an iron lung to help them breathe. Some adults with polio still use an iron lung to help them breathe to this day.
Dr. Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine in the early 1950’s. He first tested the vaccine on himself and his family in 1953. A year later 1.6 million children received the vaccine in Canada, Finland and the USA. Despite the success of the vaccine in the USA, the poliovirus still exists in two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
SYMPTOMS OF POST-POLIO SYNDROME
Polio is transmitted through contaminated water and food or contact with an infected person. Many people who are infected with the virus don’t become sick and have no symptoms. However, those who do get sick can develop paralysis, which can sometimes be fatal.
Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a group of disabling conditions that can develop in polio survivors many years after the initial acute attack of the virus. Symptoms can include new muscle weakness, joint pain, fatigue and breathing problems. Also, symptoms may include muscle atrophy, tight joints, chronic fatigue, and sensitivity to cold temperatures.
People with PPS may experience an overall reduction in strength, endurance and function. If you had polio as a child, then you should tell your doctor about it. It is important to recognize the symptoms of PPS so individuals can receive appropriate treatment.
TREATMENT FOR POST-POLIO SYNDROME
While there is no cure for post-polio syndrome, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms of the condition. These treatments can include physical therapy, exercises, devices such as braces or canes and medication. With the right treatment plan, those with PPS can live full lives despite the limits posed by the condition.
PPS is usually a chronic condition, which means that people with the condition may require treatment throughout their lives. Medication is widely used to help symptoms of the disorder and reduce their impact on daily life, such as in cases where medication for depression or anxiety does not work. The most common medications given for PPS are antidepressants. Antidepressant drugs should not be taken without first consulting a doctor. Potential side effects may include nausea and drowsiness.
Nausea and drowsiness are two potential side effects of certain medications. It is important to be aware of these side effects so that you can take precautions when taking your medication. You should also speak to your doctor if you are having any concerning symptoms, as some medications may have more serious side effects than others.
SSA’S LISTING 11.11 FOR POST-POLIO SYNDROME
The SSA includes post-polio syndrome in their blue book list of disabling medical conditions. Post-polio is found under neurologic conditions. To meet SSA’s listing, your symptoms must prevent you from standing or walking or using your arms. In short, you must have an extreme physical impairment.
11.11 Post-polio syndrome, characterized by A, B, C, or D:
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. Unintelligible speech.
C. Bulbar and neuromuscular dysfunction, resulting in:
- Acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation; or
- Need for supplemental enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy or parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter.
D. 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.
MEDICAL EVIDENCE YOU NEED TO WIN BENEFITS FOR POST-POLIO SYNDROME
The medical evidence you need to meet the above listing requires you to have a treating doctor. Your doctor will need to do medical testing and document your physical limitations in your medical records. As you can see, Part A of the listing requires severe limitations in the ability to use your arms. For example, you must be unable to perform fine and gross movement with your arms and hands. Likewise, your leg weakness must result in being unable to stand up from a seated position or balance or walk while you are upright.
If you cannot meet SSA’s listing, you can equal the listing by having a combination of medical conditions. For example, you may be unable to use one arm due to post-polio syndrome, but you might also have a severe back condition. Those two medical conditions could combine to be the equivalent of meeting the listing.
Additionally, your doctor will need to have testing that shows you have post-polio syndrome. This can be found in your original medical records that confirm your polio diagnosis. Next, you can submit evidence of muscle weakness in your arms and legs. Your doctor can perform certain tests to measure your range of motion and your ability to feel and use your arms and legs. You may also have issues with speech or respiratory failure. In those cases, medical evidence will support the fact that you cannot work.
HOW TO FIND A FREE OR LOW COST DOCTOR FOR POST-POLIO SYNDROME
It is important to submit your entire medical history from the time you stop working to the SSA. This includes any treatments you have done, such as physical therapy, medication, or surgery. Also, the SSA needs to know how long you have been in treatment and if your treatment is working.
If you do not have a treating doctor who can perform these tests and treat you, then you need to find one. On our website, we have a list of free health clinics. You can call these resources and many of them will see you for free or for low cost. Below you will find a list of medical resources in your state:
- Utah Free Health Clinics
- Nevada Free Health Resources
- Colorado Free Medical Resources
- California Free Healthcare Resources
- Idaho Free Health Services
Medical records are the evidence that proves you deserve benefits. For some reason, most people think they can simply state that they have severe medical symptoms and that the SSA will award them benefits. It is simply not true. You cannot win benefits by telling the SSA you can’t work, even if you have your mother writes a letter that supports your statements. Also, going to your doctor twice a year will not help your case. Even if there is nothing a doctor can do except treat your symptoms and pain, you must have medical evidence proving you cannot work due to your symptoms. Without ongoing, monthly medical evidence, you will not win SSDI or SSI benefits.
POST-POLIO SYNDROME & YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY
If Social Security doesn’t find you disabled under one of their listings, you can still win SSDI benefits using your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your RFC includes both your physical and mental limits. In terms of physical limits, the SSA tries to define your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift, during the course of an 8 hour workday. Likewise, the SSA will include your ability to carry, pull, and push. Find out more about how the SSA defines work here.
If your pain is so severe that you cannot work, then the SSA will assess those limits in your RFC. In order to figure out your RFC, the SSA will read your medical records. They will take into account any statements from your doctors about your ability to work.
Additionally, they have their own doctors that review your medical records, but these doctors never meet or examine you. These doctors are paid by the SSA and work for DDS, the state agency who reviews all cases. The SSA will take the medical opinion of these doctors into account. If they need more information, then they may send you to a medical exam with one of their doctors. Learn more here about what to expect at SSA’s consultative exam.
The SSA will also consider descriptions about your post-polio symptoms from your family and friends. Find out more information about what types of evidence the SSA must consider here. For example, they could write a statement about the effects of your post-polio symptoms, such as weak leg muscles and arm pain. Find out more here about RFC and how it combines with age to eliminate work. Also, find out more about SSA’s Medical Vocational Guidelines here.
WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS
You do not need to try to figure out your benefits by yourself. Cannon Disability can help you file your disability application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
- Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
- Inform the SSA that they should automatically pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
- Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
- Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question the vocational and medical witnesses.
- Read more about vocational experts here
- Learn more about medical expert testimony here
- Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as possible.
HIRE CANNON DISABILITY FOR OUR YEARS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE
The SSA appeal process for benefits is long and complicated. You will need an attorney to help you win benefits. In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. If you want to win benefits for post-polio syndrome, then hire an attorney with the legal experience to win your case.
We work on a contingency basis. This means we do not charge you any money up front to help you or for you to become our client. Then, you only pay us an attorney fee when you win benefits. If you don’t win, you don’t pay an attorney fee. If you need help filing for benefits due to post-polio syndrome, then reach out to Cannon Disability Law. Take the first step by calling us. That is what you need to do to begin your journey to winning your benefits. For help, contact us today.
If you want to learn more about our lawyers and staff, then read our About Us page. For example, you can learn about Andria Summers, who is an amazing advocate. She can also help you with your Medicare plan. She has also won thousands of SSDI and SSI cases.
Additionally, Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win benefits for over thirty years. She has many years of appeal experience at the Appeals Council and in Federal Court. Brett Bunkall also has years of legal experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSDI benefits. We are Social Security legal experts. You can trust us to help you win your benefits and make a difficult process as easy as possible for you.
WE OFFER A FREE CONSULTATION ABOUT YOUR SSDI & SSI BENEFITS
Cannon Disability offers a free consultation. But, what does this mean?
For most people who want to become clients, it means we will talk to you about your case over the phone. We will not charge you to examine the merits of your case, including questions about post-polio syndrome. Most lawyers do charge an attorney fee to review your case. We do not.
Please understand, however, that giving you a free review of your case is not the same thing as taking your case. We don’t take the case of every person who calls. First, we examine the merits of your case based upon the facts you give us. Sometimes, we request that you send us medical records or a copy of your SSA paperwork. We do this so we can understand the details of your case. Even if we ask for more information, it does not mean we accept your case.
You will know if you hire our legal team because we will send you our contract and other SSA paperwork to fill out. This paperwork must be returned to us immediately. We do not charge you for our review of your case. If you have questions about attorney fees, read here. We work for free until you win benefits.
There are many reasons to hire us to help you win benefits. But the first reason is it pays to hire an attorney with experience. In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSDI and SSI benefits for our clients. We are experts at what we do. Our goal is to put our legal knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team and win your benefits for post-polio syndrome.