Huntington’s Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits
A person may qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits on the basis of Huntington’s disease or Huntington’s chorea. Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems. It typically becomes noticeable in mid-adult life. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea, which is why the disease used to be called Huntington’s chorea.
The disease can affect both men and women. The disease is caused by an autosomal dominant mutation in either of an individual’s two copies of a gene called Huntington, which means any child of an affected person typically has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. Physical symptoms of Huntington’s disease can begin at any age from infancy to old age, but usually begin between 35 and 44 years of age. Through genetic anticipation, the disease may develop earlier in life in each successive generation. About 6% of cases start before the age of 21 years with an akinetic-rigid syndrome; they progress faster and vary slightly. The variant is classified as juvenile, akinetic-rigid or Westphal variant HD.
If the symptoms of HD are severe enough and well documented, the Social Security Administration may approve a claim without even considering one’s ability to due past work or other work in the economy. The requirements state:
11.17 Degenerative disease not listed elsewhere, such as Huntington’s chorea, Friedreich’s ataxia, and spino-cerebellar degeneration. With:
A. Disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B (significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station);
B. Chronic brain syndrome meeting the severity requirements noted for organic mental disorders.
If someone does not qualify for benefits based on this Listing, the condition and symptoms can still be considered when determining whether he can return to past employment or whether jobs exist in the local and national economy.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA 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. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.