Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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What is peripheral neuropathy and is it covered under SSDI?

The practice of medicine has deep roots in history. Perhaps that's one reason why so many of the diagnostic names attached to the conditions we have sound like they came from a foreign land. In some respect they do.

Many developments in medicine trace back to ancient days when Latin and Greek were the world languages. So, today we have odd nametags for common health problems such as varicella (chicken pox), cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) and fibromyalgia (chronic soft tissue and joint pain). Then there's peripheral neuropathy. Like many conditions, those in North Carolina afflicted with the latter may find they're eligible to receive Social Security Disability, but only if the right conditions are met.

For those who may not know, peripheral neuropathy is considered one of the most common chronic issues we suffer. As the first word of the phrase suggests, the parts of the body that are affected by the condition are the extremities – arms, hands, fingers or legs, feet and toes. The second word, neuropathy, simply means, disease of the nerve. Doctors treating diabetes regularly look for it and often find it.

So, what's the Social Security Administration's view of this condition, and what makes someone eligible for benefits? Individuals seeking SSDI coverage for peripheral neuropathy must be able to show by all the necessary documentation that they suffer extreme limits of motor function. For example, they can't get up from a chair, maintain balance walking or even standing, or have lost use of their arms or hands.

Alternatively, if a patient has only some limited physical function but can show mental impairment or an inability to interact socially, benefits might be granted.

As is the case seeking SSDI for any disability, the onus is on applicants to show that they fit the criteria and provide all the medical information called for to prove their claim. This is an intersection of medicine and law where an experienced attorney's help is worth seeking.

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