Disability Benefits for Peripheral Neuropathy
About Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is the condition that arises when the nerves that transfer signals between the body and brain become damaged or diseased. When these nerves are damaged, communication between the brain and the affected parts of the body becomes disturbed resulting in impaired movement, sensation, and organ functioning.
Types of Neuropathy
Symptoms vary depending on the nerves that are damaged. There are three different types of neuropathy.
Motor neuropathy – damage has been inflicted to motor nerves that control the movement of muscles. This usually results in muscle weakness and impaired coordination.
Sensory neuropathy – damage has been inflicted to sensory nerves that regulate the sensations from the skin. Sensations include feelings of pain, vibration, and temperature.
Autonomic neuropathy – damage has been inflicted to autonomic nerves that control organ and gland functioning. Autonomic nerve damage produces diverse symptoms that vary depending of the affected area(s).
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending on the nerves that have been damaged. Symptoms are categorized by the type of nerve that is damaged.
- Severe pain
- Muscle atrophy
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired muscle coordination
- Gait abnormality (abnormal walking)
- Numbness or lack of feeling
- Paresthesia – feelings of tingling, pricking, or burning of the skin
- Sensitivity to pain, temperature, and touch
- Bowel and bladder complications
- Digestion problems
- Orthostatic Hypotension (dizzy spell) – dizziness created from suddenly standing up
- Sexual dysfunction
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy has several different causes. Some people acquire neuropathy through environmental factors while others are simply born with it through hereditary causes. Below is a list of the known causes of neuropathy:
Certain infections such as Lyme disease, shingles, hepatitis C, and HIV
Lack of nutrition and vitamins
Particular types of cancer and chemotherapy
Hereditary disease such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1
Various autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes
Other diseases such as kidney and liver disease
Qualifying with Peripheral Neuropathy
An applicant filing a claim for peripheral neuropathy would be evaluated under listing 11.14 Peripheral Neuropathies of the Social Security Administration’s Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (also known as the Blue Book). The listing refers to impaired motor function as described in listing 11.04B. If an applicant’s symptoms fulfills Requirement B of 11.04, he or she will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
11.14 Peripheral Neuropathies
With disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B, despite taking prescribed treatment.
11.04 Central Nervous System Vascular Accident
Significant and sustained disorganization of motor function in two extremities causing sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station abnormality (abnormal walking and standing).