Many people suffer from diseases of the nervous system, and many of these conditions are painful and difficult to treat. One of the most bothersome of these diseases is peripheral neuropathy, a condition that involves elements of the neurological system outside of the brain, People who are afflicted by this condition often wonder if they are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The answer depends upon the extent of the disease and its impact on the patient’s ability to work.

SSDI benefits are only available for any disease if two conditions are met: the disease must be deemed to last for at least 12 months or to result in death and the disability must be total. The question is under what circumstances is peripheral neuropathy deemed to meet these requirements.

The disability evaluation guidelines published by the Social Security Administration provide helpful answers. First, the illness must result in “disorganization of motor function” in two extremities that causes difficulty in standing from a seated position or occasional loss of balance while standing or walking. An alternative characterization of the disease is marked difficulty in physical functioning and in one of the following:

  • Understanding, remembering or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace
  • Adapting or managing oneself

As with all conditions that may justify an award of SSDI benefits, the patient must provide at least one written diagnosis by a medical professional who is qualified to diagnose and treat the disease and information supporting the claim of disability. The complexity of the medical evidence required to document the presence of peripheral neuropathy may suggest a consultation with an attorney who is experienced in handling SSDI claims and appeals.