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Can I Get Disability for a Genetic or Inherited Disorder?

July 22, 2021

disability benefits for huntington's disease

The short answer is yes. Social Security Disability benefits are available to claimants with genetic or inherited disorders as long as they meet certain qualifying criteria. One genetic disorder the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes is Huntington’s Disease (HD). HD affects the brain and can progressively lead to decreased coordination, cognitive decline and psychiatric issues.

If you have been diagnosed with a genetic or inherited disorder and it is impacting your ability to work, you may be able to file a claim for disability benefits. Our legal team is ready to answer your questions during a free initial consultation. There is no obligation to have us represent you after this meeting.

Call 1-800-503-2000 to get started.

Huntington's Disease and Its Disabling Symptoms

Huntington’s Disease is a degenerative brain disorder that progressively leads to a breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. People may develop this disease in their early 30s and 40s, but symptoms typically do not manifest until the late 50s. HD can cause significant neurological impairments that affect a person’s ability to work and focus on tasks.

The symptoms can be quite disabling depending on the severity of the disease. The cognitive symptoms may include an inability to do everyday activities (i.e. bathing), loss of memory and dementia.

Other mental-related symptoms of the disease are:

  • Changes in personality
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Reduced expression of emotion
  • Aggressive or compulsive behavior

HD can also be physically demanding. Symptoms may include:

  • Involuntary movement or lack of coordination
  • Rigid body movements
  • Loss of muscle control leading to difficulty breathing, swallowing food or drinking water
  • Sleeping problems
  • Seizures

HD is incurable and often fatal, which is why people who suffer from this disease may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

Social Security Disability for Huntington's Disease

To be able to receive disability benefits, you will need to show that you either meet the requirements of a listing in the SSA’s Blue Book or that you no longer have the physical or mental capacity to work.

Huntington’s Disease can either qualify under Section 11.17 Neurodegenerative Disorders or Section 12.02 Neurocognitive Disorders if your disabling symptoms are cognitive or mental.

For instance, your HD must meet one of the following criteria for neurodegenerative disorders:

  • Have an inability to control the movement of two extremities – such as an arm and a leg or two arms or two legs – making it hard to stand up from a seated position or balance while standing or walking.
  • Have a marked physical limitation and a marked limitation in either understanding and remembering information, interacting with others, concentrating or managing oneself.   

To meet the listing for neurocognitive disorders, you must be experiencing at least one of the following cognitive symptoms that have progressively gotten worse:

  • Issues focusing on tasks or listening to others
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Decreased coordination, such as hand-eye coordination
  • Poor social judgment or social behavior

You must also have a marked physical limitation and two of the following marked limitations:

  • Thinking and remembering
  • Interacting with others
  • Finishing tasks
  • Managing oneself

Reduced Capacity to Work Due to Limitations

If your HD does not meet the criteria above, you may still be able to receive disability benefits if you can prove your inability to work is due to physical or mental limitations. The SSA will require that you submit a residual functional capacity or RFC form in order to assess your abilities and limitations.

Your treating doctor could help by listing all the ways the disease has decreased your capacity to work and perform regular tasks. A lawyer at our firm is also ready to help you fill out this form and submit any requested documents from the SSA on your behalf. This includes gathering sufficient medical evidence.

Medical Evidence Required by Social Security

The SSA will need to review the following medical evidence to make a disability determination:

  • Your Huntington’s Disease diagnosis
  • A detailed description of your symptoms
  • Objective evidence of any physical and mental changes
  • Detailed treatment history, including medications and side effects

See How Dayes Law Firm May Be Able to Help

We recommend working with a qualified attorney who has experience helping claimants get the disability benefits they need. A Phoenix Social Security Disability attorney at Dayes Law Firm is ready to review your claim and help you get the process started. Our initial consultations are 100 percent free and confidential. We also charge no upfront fees for our legal services should your claim have merit.

Need legal help? Call: 1-800-503-2000

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