SSDI and SSI Resources

  • Visit the SSA site for further information about eligibility and the approval process. There are also many private firms that provide Social Security representation (usually for SSDI) that have very useful web sites about these issues, such as Allsup and SSLG.
  • Read Allsup’s explanation of Social Security’s five-step process to determine if a Parkinson’s disease patient qualifies for SSDI.
  • Read about SSLG's approach in representing Parkinson's disease patients.
  • View an excellent presentation by Mary Dale Walters on Social Security issues and PD. 

Using the Parkinson Action Network’s (PAN) New SSDI Form

We hope that this form opens the door to meaningful discussion with your treatment team about applying for Social Security benefits. That said, this form is not intended or offered as legal or other professional advice. You may wish to consult with an attorney or non-attorney representative about whether using this form is appropriate in your case and, if so, how to use this form to your maximum benefit. They may have a different approach or form for your use, or may wish to supplement this form with additional questions to help guide you and your treatment team toward ensuring that your medical record contains supportive information targeting Social Security’s two standards for approval (you only need to meet one of these standards to be approved!).

It is important to know the two key Social Security standards and to discuss them with your treatment team. The first is the so called Parkinson’s “listing,” which states: “11.06 Parkinsonian syndrome with the following signs: Significant rigidity, bradykinesia, or tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.” If you satisfy the criteria of the listing, you will be approved. If you do not, then you have a chance to meet the second standard, which is essentially that you cannot work any job for at least one year.

PAN’s form can help you assess whether you meet the above standards. If your answers point to the reality that you can still do your job, even with limitation and/or difficulty, then the time is probably not ripe for you to apply. This form, particularly when completed after a more thorough self-assessment, can help you better understand when that time may be coming. However, making it part of your medical record and filing for disability before that time could be detrimental to your claim if you are only impaired and not unable to do the job. Moreover, you may want you to provide much more detailed information than is specifically called for by this form, including about your ability to work any job--not just your current one--for at least one year.  

Finally, keep in mind that there may be other rights and benefits you may wish to pursue in managing a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Among these might be job accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, long term income replacement if your company has an LTD policy, long term care insurance, and more. Your rights in those arenas would also be affected by any information you report on this form or otherwise. By helping you monitor your health, this form can help you measure your status against the various definitions of “disability” that apply with respect to all of your possible rights and benefits. A comprehensive approach to these issues, along with ongoing discussion with your health care team as appropriate, may best position you, with the help of your professional advisors, to make informed decisions about when and how to apply for what. 

Download the form from the PAN web site.

Content for this section provided by Mark Rubin, J.D. Last updated August 2010.

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