Essential tremor is a nervous system disorder. It can occur in any part of the body, but most often occurs in the upper extremities, affecting the head, arms and voice. It is often associated with Parkinson's disease because of similar symptoms, but it does not lead to life-threatening complications like Parkinson's disease does.
If you suffer from essential tremor or a similar disorder, it may be possible to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. One of our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers can help if you are having trouble with your claim or have been denied the benefits you need.
Symptoms of Essential Tremor
Essential tremor is associated with several symptoms, including:
- Small, rapid movements that result in shaking more than five times a second
- Nodding of your head
- Difficulty performing activities that rely on fine motor skills such as drawing, writing or using tools
- A quivering or shaking voice
Claimants with essential tremor may be affected by the condition in different ways. For many claimants, the tremors come and go over time but gradually get worse as they get older. The tremors may not affect both sides of the body in the same way. They may be more noticeable when a person is moving and less noticeable while at rest. They may be aggravated by external factors, such as temperature changes, caffeine, fatigue or stress.
Effects of Essential Tremor
Essential tremor can have a significant impact on the daily lives of individuals inflicted with this disorder. Some daily life tasks that may be affected include the ability to:
- Tie your shoes
- Carry items
- Use buttons
- Reach up or stretch
Essential tremors often affect fine motor skills, which means any task that relies on this function can be impaired because of essential tremors. Combatting the symptoms of essential tremors often requires extensive medical intervention such as:
- Receiving occupational therapy
- Receiving brain surgery
- Taking medication
- Using specialized tools
Obtaining Disability Benefits for Essential Tremor
To qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the SSA's disability requirements. Medically, you must suffer from a debilitating condition that prevents you from working for at least one year.
One way to qualify is to show that your condition equals a disability listing in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Listing of Impairments.
Parkinson's disease is likely the most closely related condition. If your symptoms and limitations are as severe as the requirements in the listing for Parkinson's disease, you can be approved for benefits at this step in the sequential process. You may qualify under this criterion if your condition includes the following:
- You are unable to control the movements of your hands or arms;
- You are unable to use your hands; and
- You have received at least three months of treatment
Qualifying with a Residual Functional Capacity
If your condition does not meet the Parkinson's disease listing or any other listing, you can may qualify for benefits though a residual functional capacity assessment (RFC). This assessment is a detailed report that explains what you can do for regular, full-time work. The RFC should explain how your tremors will likely affect your ability to perform basic job functions such as:
Additionally, the SSA will consider whether there are other limitations that your tremors will impose on your work that are non-exertional in nature. Your tremors may impact other aspects of your ability to perform expected job functions even if strength is not relevant to these determinations. For example, your tremors, medication or treatment of your condition may impact the following basic job functions:
- Reaching for objects
- Handling objects
- Manipulating objects
- Completing other specific body positions that are routine for the job
- Completing other activities that require the repetitive use of fine motor skills
- Speaking clearly so others can understand
Tremors may also impact the ability of a person to work with others, pay attention or concentrate. They may also suffer from some mental health complications associated with essential tremors, such as anxiety, depression or nervousness.
If it is concluded that your condition prevents you from being able to work, you should qualify for benefits.
Contact a Lawyer for Help with Your Essential Tremor Claim
Essential tremor can have a significant impact on your ability to work and maintain employment. For help with your claim, contact Dayes Law Firm PC to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our experienced team.
We will guide you through every step of the process, including helping gather your medical records, preparing your claim and appealing a denial. We do not get paid unless you receive benefits.