According to Benzinga, April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. For family families living with Parkinson’s disease, financial decisions take on a toll and medical costs keep on coming. Also, loss of employment income is an unfortunate reality of the disease. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately one million people in the United States suffer from Parkinson’s. An additional 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Approximately one-third of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s remain active in the work force, but the debilitating disease takes its toll, often requiring victims to seek disability. When Parkinson’s symptoms make it impossible to work, individuals can file a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
According to the SSA, an individual must meet the agency’s definition of disabled and have worked and paid into the SSDI program for five of the last 10 years. While the average age of a Parkinson’s diagnosis is 62, approximately 10 percent of individuals are under the age of 40.
Individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease should file an application immediately. In case their claim is denied, they can seek an appeal hearing. A recent SSA report said that Parkinson’s disease is among the top conditions denied at the initial application. Luckily, most claimants do receive benefits after approval at the hearing level.
Additionally, the SSA report found that the national average wait period for appeals hearing is 426 days. Claimants waiting to receive their SSDI benefits after a hearing may wait an additional 500 days to receive their first payment. About 90 percent of claimants have representation by the time they reach an appeals hearing, which helps increase their chances of presenting sufficient medical and work history evidence in front of a judge.