Do I Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits If I Have Cerebral Atrophy?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with cerebral atrophy to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits they deserve. Many claims are denied because SSA says:
(1) Your medical condition isn’t the equivalent of a Medical Listing,
(2) You can return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled, or
(3) There is other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity.
Not all cases of cerebral atrophy are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with cerebral atrophy. She works to overcome the claims denial by working closely with you and your physician to show that you:
- Qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program,
- Meet the requirements for a disability listing, or that
- Your limitations are too great for you to work at your old job or any other job in the national economy in view of your age, education and transferable work skills.
She offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your Social Security disability claim.
What Is Cerebral Atrophy?
Atrophy or shrinkage of the brain comes naturally with age; by age 75 your brain is approximately 15% smaller than it was at age 25. Cerebral atrophy is a common feature of many diseases that affect the brain. These diseases include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Pick’s disease
- Huntington disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Krabbe disease
- Kearns Syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Encephalitis and
What Are The Symptoms of Cerebral Atrophy?
The symptoms can include language disorder, progressive impairment of memory and intellectual function, problems with memory, orientation, visual-spatial perception and the ability to learn.
Higher executive functions like planning, organizing and sequencing can be impaired.
These symptoms also can cause emotional problems, including depression.
Because of the nature of the diseases and symptoms, many with cerebral atrophy get treatment with a neurologist and should undergo neuropsychological testing to objectively document these cognitive problems.
Cerebral Atrophy And The Listing Of Impairments
There is no listing for cerebral atrophy in the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments.” Instead you must meet a listing for the medical condition that is causing the cerebral atrophy or prove that your cerebral atrophy is the equivalent of a Listing.
If you can’t meet either, SSA then will determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5.
When Your Cerebral Atrophy Makes It Impossible to Work
If you don’t meet a listing, you will have to prove that you:
- Can’t return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled (PRW), and
- There isn’t any other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity (RFC).
SSA or, ultimately an Administrative Law Judge, will answer those questions by determining your residual functional capacity. Your RFC is what you can do despite your cerebral atrophy.
Residual Functional Capacity For Cerebral Atrophy
The SSA will review your medical records at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stage of the claims process and determine your functional capacity to perform sedentary, light, medium and heavy work.
SSA medical consultants often opine that a Social Security Disability applicant can do light and sedentary work, and that will result in a claims denial. The lower your RFC the more likely that you can’t return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years or perform other work. SSA doesn’t tell applicants or physicians about the existence and importance of properly completed RFC forms that will explain:
- How your language disorder impacts your functionality,
- How your progressive impairment of memory and intellectual function impact your functionality,
- How problems with memory impact your functionality,
- How problems with orientation and visual-spatial perception impact your functional capacity,
- How higher executive functions like planning, organizing and sequencing are impaired, and
- How your ability to perform routine simple tasks is impaired.
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the questions on a cognitive RFC form. But you can see that having an explanation of what you can cognitively perform is key to winning your case. Neurocognitive testing is crucial.
Many SSA cases are lost because the applicant did not obtain an RFC or the right RFC form, or because their treating physician didn’t properly complete the RFC form. That is one of the many reasons you should have an experienced Social Security attorney like Nancy L. Cavey represent you in your claim.
How Your Residual Functional Capacity Is Used At A Social Security Hearing
Many claims are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator (VE) who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
- Whether you can return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years,
- Whether there is other work you can do or could learn to do.
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
How Do I Get The Social Security Disability Benefits I Deserve?
If you can’t work as a result of cerebral atrophy or your doctor has told you to apply for Social Security disability, you should hire Nancy Cavey to help you:
- File your initial Social Security Disability application. The application process is confusing and designed so you make mistakes that can result in a delay or even a denial of your benefits.
- Appeal a wrongful denial of your Social Security disability application or Request for Reconsideration.
- File an Application for Hearing and represent you at the hearing with the Administrative Law Judge who will decide if you get benefits. She will have your physician, if possible, complete the right RFC(s), prepare you for the hearing, prepare a hearing brief, and be prepared to cross-examine the VE.
The SSA is in the business of denying claims and will use any reason to deny your benefits. The odds of getting your Social Security benefits are greater when you are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney like Ms. Cavey.
Contact Social Security Disability Attorney Nancy L. Cavey, Who Can Help You With Your Cerebral Atrophy Claim Regardless of Where You Live in Florida
You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Ms. Cavey can explain the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process used in every claim, the claims process and how to get your disability benefits. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.