Social Security Disability Listing for Neurological Disorders To Be Reviewed By SSA

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Allsup outlines requirements for SSDI benefits, examples of major conditions from more than 600 neurologic diseases

Claimants should keep in mind that the SSA requires strong, documented medical evidence to be awarded Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has reported it will review how it identifies qualifying criteria for people with neurological disorders seeking disability benefits. The SSA’s Listing of Impairments is an important tool because it’s used by the federal agency to determine if a claimant is disabled, according to Allsup, which provides Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services.

The SSA reported plans to seek public comment this year on neurological disorders once the agency publishes a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), according to its Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2013. “In 2010, more than 1 million disabled workers were awarded benefits, and fewer than 9 percent were awarded Social Security Disability Insurance benefits based on the nervous system and sense organs,” said Ed Swierczek, senior claimant representative at Allsup. “The SSA plans to update how it measures neurological disorders that prevent people from working.”

Social Security Disability Benefits
SSDI is a federally mandated disability insurance program overseen by the SSA that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. SSDI provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability. The disability must last for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible.

Major types of neurological disorders include:

  • Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy;
  • Degenerative diseases, where the nerve cells are damaged or die, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as cerebral vascular accident (stroke);
  • Injuries to the spinal cord and brain;
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy;
  • Cancer, such as brain tumors; and
  • Infections, such as meningitis.

There are more than 600 neurologic diseases, according to the American Academy of Neurology. The SSA currently provides listings for 17 categories, posted in the medical listing book, Disability Evaluation Under Social Security.

Under the SSA’s five-step sequential disability evaluation process, a claimant must prove the following in order to be found disabled:

1. Claimant is not engaged in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), earning $1,010 or more per month.
2. Claimant has a severe impairment lasting 12 months or longer, or is terminal.
3. The impairment meets or medically equals one of the impairments described in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments.
4. Claimant is unable to do past relevant work based on his or her residual functional capacity, or RFC.
5. Claimant is unable to work in any other type of occupation, taking into account his or her age, education and work experience.

“Claimants should keep in mind that the SSA requires strong, documented medical evidence to be awarded Social Security disability benefits,” Swierczek said. “Because it is often difficult to understand the many rules and requirements to qualify for Social Security benefits, it’s almost always wise to obtain professional representation from disability experts such as Allsup.”

The benefits of Social Security disability representation include assistance completing applications and forms, collecting medical records, and developing and filing the claim electronically to ensure that it meets SSA requirements for review. Allsup also helps a majority of its customers receive benefits more quickly at the initial application level, thus avoiding appeals and the need for a disability hearing.

“Advocates such as Allsup, which has helped more than 170,000 people with disabilities receive their benefits, can greatly improve your chances of a successful outcome,” Swierczek said.

Find more information about SSDI guidelines by type of disability on To find out if you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, call the Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276 for a free evaluation.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to or visit Allsup on Facebook at

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