28th December 2022
Is Neuropathy a Disability? How To Classify This DiagnosisDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Neuropathy is a nerve damage disorder that can interfere with your daily routine. The condition has multiple causes, though sometimes the cause is unknown. Those who suffer from neuropathy may experience a range of symptoms including pain, numbness, and even paralysis.
When neuropathy is severe, it can impact not only your quality of life but also your ability to work. In such cases, neuropathy may be classified as a disability allowing you to claim government disability benefits.
Keep reading to learn if your neuropathy might qualify for disability benefits.
Does a Neuropathy Diagnosis Mean You’re Disabled?
Neuropathy is a health condition that can affect various bodily systems, but it doesn’t necessarily make you disabled. Many people who have neuropathy lead normal lives despite experiencing symptoms. Others may be able to reduce or manage their neuropathy symptoms successfully through medications and other therapies.
In cases where neuropathy symptoms are so severe that you’re experiencing chronic pain or difficulty performing daily tasks, neuropathy can be considered a disability. A disability is defined as any physical or mental condition that interferes with or limits a person's mobility, senses, or activities. Because severe cases of neuropathy can disrupt your quality of life and make it difficult to function, those who suffer from neuropathy can be considered disabled.
Does Neuropathy Qualify You for Disability Benefits?
Whether or not your neuropathy qualifies you for disability benefits is determined by how neuropathy affects your ability to work. For those with a mild case of neuropathy and a sedentary desk job, neuropathy may not drastically affect their ability to work. However, those who work a more physically demanding job are more likely to be impacted.
Neuropathy can affect your mobility, making actions such as standing, walking, bending, or lifting more difficult. It can also make you more sensitive to touch, which can impact work where you’re constantly being bumped or jostled by people or equipment. In severe cases of neuropathy, even those who work desk jobs may be impacted.
For example, if your neuropathy makes it difficult for you to sit for extended periods or makes simple actions such as typing painful, it could be considered a work disability. When neuropathy affects your ability to work, it’s important you take appropriate actions to avoid further impacts on your quality of life.
How Do You Claim Disability Benefits for Neuropathy?
If your neuropathy symptoms are affecting your ability to work, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists neuropathy as a disability in their Blue Book, which is the list of health conditions eligible for disability benefits.
However, to qualify for disability benefits, you must be able to prove your neuropathy is interfering with your ability to work. You must also be experiencing at least one of the following symptoms:
Involuntary movement in two or more limbs
These symptoms must be severe enough to impact your job such as making physical movement difficult or interfering with your ability to remember important information and interact with your coworkers. However, experiencing symptoms alone is not enough to claim disability.
You must also be able to prove that your neuropathy has kept you from working for a minimum of 12 months. In addition, you must also have earned enough work credits. Work credits are assigned to everyone for every year they work. Every year, you can earn up to 4 work credits. To qualify for disability compensation, you must have earned at least 20 work credits.
Applying for Social Security Disability
The first step to claiming disability for neuropathy is to talk to your doctor currently treating you for neuropathy. They will be able to provide verified documentation of the symptoms and limitations you are experiencing. Make sure you meet the qualifications for disability listed by the SSA Blue Book.
Once you supply the necessary information, expect to be waiting at least a few months before hearing whether your claim has been approved. If your claim is not approved, you can submit your application again for reconsideration or consider hiring a disability lawyer.
Is Diabetic Neuropathy Considered a Disability?
Diabetic neuropathy is the most common type of neuropathy and affects about 50 percent of all diabetics. According to the SSA, diabetic neuropathy is considered a disability if the sufferer meets certain qualifications. To qualify for disability benefits, diabetic neuropathy patients must experience paralysis, tremors, involuntary movement in at least two extremities, and impact on mobility (such as difficulty standing or walking).
These symptoms must affect the patient’s ability to work for their livelihood. However, your claim may be denied based on the type of diabetes you suffer from. Type 1 diabetes, for example, is caused by unknown factors and cannot be reversed. Type 2 diabetes on the other hand, is associated with lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and sometimes reversed with proper diet and healthcare.
If you suffer from type 1 diabetes, you are more likely to be approved for disability. You are less likely to be approved for disability if you suffer from type 2 diabetes as it’s believed lifestyle intervention could reduce or reverse neuropathy.
Is There Anything You Can Do To Reverse Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is a difficult condition to treat because it has many causes or, in some cases, no discernible cause at all. Neuropathy treatment is first aimed at determining and treating the cause, then managing symptoms through medications and therapy. Natural dietary supplements like NeuraZenx, may also be helpful in managing neuropathy symptoms.*
Research shows that certain vitamins, minerals, and herbs (such as those in NeuraZenx) may be helpful for repairing nerve health.* However, these claims have not been verified by the FDA and more research needs to be done. Talk to your doctor about the best course of treatment for you and consider a variety of different methods.
If neuropathy treatment is unsuccessful for you and your symptoms are affecting your livelihood, know your rights. Talk to your doctor or a disability lawyer about qualifying for government disability benefits.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.