SSD Benefits & Neurological Disorders: What You Need to Know

Having a disability is not as rare as you might think. According to U.S. Census Bureau Reports, almost 1 in 5 people have a disability in the United States. In 2010, the number was estimated at about 56.7 million people (19% of the population). Some of these disabilities don’t prevent individuals from working a normal full-time job, but others keep people from earning a regular income. Those who suffer severe disabilities then have to rely on Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to receive an income. The Social Security Administration cited studies demonstrating a 20-year-old worker has a 1 in 4 chance of acquiring a disability before reaching retirement age. This is an astoundingly high number. If you are at risk of being diagnosed with a neurological disorder that requires you to stop working, you need to know how to apply for SSD benefits and what they cover.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders are problems affecting any part of the nervous system, the structure of nerves that runs throughout the body and sends electrical signals from your brain to the rest of your body. Damage to this system can cause a range of symptoms, some of which are debilitating and painful. These symptoms can include paralysis, coordination issues, muscle weakness, loss of sensation, and seizures. While the body is designed to protect this delicate system with tough membranes and bone, the nerves can still be extremely vulnerable if compromised. For example, even something as simple as repetitive motions at work could lead to carpal tunnel, severe cases of which cause nerve damage to the median nerve.

Several recognized neurological disorders are covered by SSD benefits, including the following:

  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Brain tumors
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
  • Cerebral trauma (traumatic brain injury)

Those suffering from severe neurological disorders can find it progressively difficult to participate in many kinds of daily activities, work-related duties included. Parkinson’s disease, for example, can cause tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity in the body, and impaired balance and coordination.


In order to qualify for SSD benefits, you must have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security (typically 10 years). You must also have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. SSD will pay monthly benefits to people who are incapable of working for a year or more or who have a condition that will eventually end in death. The disability also must be so severe you cannot work, considering age, education, and experience.

If you do qualify, you can apply online for disability benefits, so you don’t have to wait for an appointment. If your application is approved, Social Security will send a letter to you regarding your approved benefits, the amount of your monthly benefit, and the effective date. The amount will be based on your average lifetime earnings. Your first benefits will also be paid for the 6th full month after the date your disability began.

Individual members of your family can also get benefits. If you have a spouse who is 62 years of age or older, or of any age but caring for a child younger than 16 years of age or disabled, he or she can also get benefits. Likewise, any unmarried child under the age of 18, or 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22, can receive benefits. Additionally, you get Medicare coverage automatically after you’ve received disability benefits for two years.

If you need help applying for SSD benefits, or you need help appealing an SSD denial, don’t hesitate to call us. At Cantrell, Goodge & Associates, our Knoxville Social Security Disability attorneys are experienced in helping clients get the benefits they deserve upon appeal. If you need to appear before an administrative law judge, you can present your best case for why you deserve SSD benefits with a skilled attorney on your side. Our firm is local, but we have a national reputation for excellence. The lawyers at our firm have served people throughout Knoxville and the surrounding East Tennessee areas with respect, compassion, and personalized attention for decades. Let us see what we can do for you. Our staff is available to answer your e-mail or take your calls at all hours, so you can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact us at (865) 999-0101 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.


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