Monday, April 5, 2010

Parkinson’s Disease

The best type of evidence for a Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claim is evidence that shows the claimant meets a “listed impairment.” If the criteria of a “listing” are met the applicant is presumed to be disabled, and no further medical or vocational development is required to approve SSD benefits.

Parkinson’s Disease (“PD”) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people, and is typically treated by a neurologist. Therefore, when applying for SSD benefits based upon PD, the best type of evidence would be an opinion from a neurologist that the claimant meets the criteria under the 11.06 listing for Parkinsonian Syndrome.

I represent a 46 year old former publisher whose SSD application was approved yesterday, just two months after I submitted the application, and two weeks after I submitted a narrative report from his neurologist explaining why the 11.06 criteria were met. The claimant was not even asked to be examined by a Social Security doctor.

The rapid approval was undoubtedly due to the listing opinion from the neurologist. The first thing I always do when analyzing a claim is to determine whether the claimant’s condition can meet or equal a listing, and then securing the necessary records and reports from the treating doctor. If a hearing has already been scheduled, showing that a claimant meets a listing is important because it makes it significantly more difficult for an Administrative Law Judge to deny the claim, or for the denial to be sustained on appeal.

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