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Dystonia is a neurological disorder that may appear by itself or as a symptom of other disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. It manifests as involuntary muscle movements and repetition of certain movements. In generalized dystonia, the disorder can affect any part of the body. Focal dystonia, which is more common in adults, will affect specific areas, particularly the arms, neck, face, or head.

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Disability and Dystonia

It is possible to receive disability for dystonia. However, the Social Security Administration will need proof that dystonia is keeping an individual from working. They will conduct an assessment of the restrictions dystonia is placing on the individual and if these restrictions affect their ability to work. Inabilities to carry, push, walk, run, lift or speak are all considered disabling to some degree.

It will be necessary for individuals applying for social security disability benefits to disclose how dystonia influences their daily lives. For example, if they find it hard to drive, that information will be needed for the SSA’s evaluation. If the muscle contractions result in severe chronic pain, that may also be considered disabling.

It is helpful to have a primary care physician write up the limitations involved with a particular case of dystonia to present to the SSA. Individuals should provide this with a copy of all medical records from the onset of the dystonia to this present. These records will serve to supplement the doctor’s assessment.

The goal of the SSA’s initial assessment will be to determine whether it is possible for a particular dystonia sufferer to perform any jobs with their level of disability. The disability claim will go through if it is found that the sufferer cannot do any jobs. If the claim does not go through, it is possible to contest it.

Taking a Different Approach

Individuals can also be approved for social security disability if they fall under any of the social security disability listings. Any person who falls under any illness and the requirements for that illness will qualify for disability. Dystonia is not on this list. However, Parkinson’s disease is on the list and dystonia is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

It may be possible for an individual with dystonia to compare their symptoms to the Parkinson’s requirements and be approved if the requirements are met by dystonia alone. This approach is for individuals who have had chronic trouble using their hands or walking and standing. It is possible for dystonia to cause these issues, though not in the same manner as Parkinson’s disease.

Other Requirements

Being disabled is not enough to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. One must have an income of $1,010 a month or less. The symptoms of any illness have to be severe enough that it is expected that the sufferer will not be able to work for at least one year.

It is possible to get disability insurance through the SSA. However, there are specific requirements for that as well and they involve past work history. SSI, which is essentially an income to help a person with a disability get by will also require a work history deemed appropriate by the Social Security Administration.