A person may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based on muscular dystrophy. If a person is not working and has been diagnosed with this severe condition, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine whether the person is disabled under a listing or whether jobs exist considering the person’s residual functional abilities for purposes of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Listings are just that – listings of conditions that qualify for someone disability benefits based on the diagnosis and severity of a medical impairment. A person must show that she meets or equals the listed condition and required severity.
In terms of Muscular Dystrophy, the SSA’s Bluebook or Code of Federal Regulations states:
11.13 Muscular dystrophy, characterized by A or B:
A. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.
B. Marked limitation in physical functioning, and in one of the following:
1. Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
2. Interacting with others; or
3. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
4. Adapting or managing oneself.
Disorganization of motor function means interference, due to your neurological disorder, with movement of two extremities; i.e., the lower extremities, or upper extremities (including fingers, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders). Two extremities mean both lower extremities or both upper extremities, or one upper extremity and one lower extremity. The listing includes criteria for disorganization of motor function that results in an extreme limitation in ability to:
· Stand up from a seated position; or
· Balance while standing or walking; or
· Use the upper extremities (including finger, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders).
Extreme limitation means the inability to stand up from a seated position, maintain balance in a standing position and while walking, or use upper extremities to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities. The assessment of motor function depends on the degree of interference with standing up; balancing while standing or walking; or using the upper extremities (including fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders).
· Inability to stand up from a seated position means that once seated you are unable to stand and maintain an upright position without the assistance of another person or the use of an assistive device, such as a walker, two crutches, or two canes.
· Inability to maintain balance in a standing position means that you are unable to maintain an upright position while standing or walking without the assistance of another person or an assistive device, such as a walker, two crutches, or two canes.
· Inability to use your upper extremities means that you have a loss of function of both upper extremities (including fingers, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders) that very seriously limits your ability to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross motor movements. Inability to perform fine and gross motor movements could include not being able to pinch, manipulate, and use your fingers; or not being able to use your hands, arms, and shoulders to perform gross motor movements, such as handling, gripping, grasping, holding, turning, and reaching; or not being able to engage in exertional movements such a lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling.
Marked Limitation. To satisfy the requirements of the functional criteria, the neurological disorder must result in a marked limitation in physical functioning and a marked limitation in one of the four areas of mental functioning. “Marked” would be the fourth point on a five-point scale consisting of no limitation, mild limitation, moderate limitation, marked limitation, and extreme limitation. The SSA considers the nature and overall degree of interference with functioning.
Marked limitation and physical functioning. For this criterion, a marked limitation means that, due to the signs and symptoms of the neurological disorder, the claimant experiences serious limitations in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related physical activities. When the neurological disease process causes persistent or intermittent symptoms that affect abilities to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities, such as standing, balancing, walking, using both upper extremities for fine and gross movements, or results in limitations in using one upper and one lower extremity. The persistent and intermittent symptoms must result in a serious limitation in ability to do a task or activity on a sustained basis.
Marked limitation and mental functioning. A marked limitation means that, due to the signs and symptoms of the neurological disorder, there is serious limits in the ability to function independently, appropriately, effectively, and on a sustained basis in work settings. “Marked” is not defined by a specific number of mental activities, such as: the number of activities that demonstrate ability to understand, remember, and apply information; the number of tasks that demonstrate ability to interact with others; a specific number of tasks that demonstrate ability to concentrate, persist or maintain pace; or a specific number of tasks that demonstrate ability to manage oneself. There is a marked limitation when several activities or functions are impaired, or even when only one is impaired.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website.