Parkinson’s disease is considered a disability under both federal and state laws in the United States. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disabilities as physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities, including movements such as walking, standing, and coordination. If you have Parkinson’s, you can claim two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the way a person moves, speaks, and thinks. It is a disabling condition that can cause a wide range of physical and mental symptoms, including tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Understanding the Definition of Disability
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
People with Parkinson’s may experience a wide range of symptoms that can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as walking, talking, and even eating. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes Parkinson’s disease as a disability, and those who suffer from it may be eligible for disability benefits.
For those living with Parkinson’s disease, disability benefits can provide much-needed financial support. It’s important to note, however, that the SSA has strict guidelines for determining eligibility.
How to Access Disability Benefits for Parkinson’s Disease
To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits with Parkinson’s disease, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your inability to work must be expected to last for at least a year.
- Your condition must meet the specific criteria outlined in the SSA’s “Blue Book,” which is a list of conditions that qualify for disability benefits. This includes having:
- Significant motor function issues in two limbs, making it extremely difficult to stand up from a seated position, maintain balance while standing or walking, or use your upper limbs. OR
- A marked limitation in physical functioning, along with a limitation in one of the following areas: understanding, remembering, or applying information, interacting with others, concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace, adapting or managing oneself.
Meeting these criteria is likely to classify you as disabled by the SSA, making you eligible for Social Security disability benefits for Parkinson’s disease.
Filing for Social Security Disability For Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis
Here are 5 steps that you can take to get started with your application for Social Security disability benefits:
- Choose your application method: You can apply online or visit your local SSA Field Office in person.
- Complete the necessary forms: Carefully fill out the provided forms by the SSA, ensuring that all relevant information is included.
- Gather comprehensive medical evidence: Establish your Parkinson’s disease as a disability by providing a detailed medical history and results from physical examinations.
- Document physical and mental limitations: Have your neurologist document any movement difficulties, balance issues, or work-related challenges. Also, mention any concentration or emotional control problems you experience.
- Include treatment details: Provide information on the medications, surgeries, and therapies you have received. If your condition has worsened despite treatment, make sure to mention it.
If you have any uncertainties about the disability application process for Parkinson’s or have questions about what evidence to include, consider seeking assistance from a disability lawyer or advocate. They are often an invaluable resource for disability claimants and can significantly improve your chances of success.
Types of Benefits You Can Claim for Parkinson’s Disease
Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits
SSDI benefits are for people who used to have a job but now can’t work because of a disability like Parkinson’s. To get SSDI benefits for Parkinson’s, the SSA must consider your Parkinson’s to be a disability, and you must have sufficient work credits. The specific number of work credits you need depends on your age and how much you’ve worked in the past.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
SSI benefits are for people or families who have a disability like Parkinson’s and have limited income(s) and resources. If you’re eligible for SSDI, you’re also likely eligible for Medicare. This is because people who qualify for SSDI can get Medicare after a 24-month waiting period. And many SSI recipients qualify for Medicaid. These monthly payments and medical coverage help make sure you and your family have what you need.
Medicare or Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs that cover most healthcare costs. Medicare is a federal program available to people with disabilities and those aged 65 and over. If you qualify for SSDI benefits with Parkinson’s, you’ll also be eligible for Medicare. Medicaid is a federal healthcare program that provides services predominantly to low-income individuals and families.
Resources & Support for Those with Parkinson’s Disease
Aside from disability benefits, there are other resources available to support individuals living with Parkinson’s disease. These include:
Many organizations offer support groups for individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, information, and emotional support.
Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Many hospitals, community centers, and non-profit organizations offer specialized exercise programs for individuals with the disease.
In addition to disability benefits, there may be financial assistance available for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. This can include grants, scholarships, and other forms of aid.
Get Support from South River Fox Trail Senior Living
At South River Fox Trail, we understand the challenges that come with living with Parkinson’s and are here to provide the support and resources needed to make life easier. Our team is dedicated to helping those with Parkinson’s get the care and assistance they need to live a full and meaningful life.
Reach out to us today to learn more about our senior living community and how we can support you or your loved one with Parkinson’s disease.