Neurological Disorders (Dementia) and Social Security Disability in Los Angeles

Neurological disorders, including dementia, can be devastating and debilitating enough to be considered a disability. The symptoms of dementia can prevent you from being able to work and may make you eligible for monthly Social Security benefits. Dementia generally involves a progressive decline in a person’s everyday functional skills, including memory, judgment, language skills, and ability to work.

If you are unable to work because of the symptoms of dementia, it’s crucial that you understand your options. The experienced attorneys at Disability Advocates Group can help you determine whether you are eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. Contact Disability Advocates Group to learn how we can advocate for you. We represent clients in the greater Los Angeles area.

Dementia Is a Qualifying Medical Diagnosis for Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration has a specific definition of the word disability. According to the Social Security Administration, a disability is a medical condition expected to prevent a person from working at a regular full-time job for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration uses a manual commonly called “The Blue Book” with listings of qualifying disabilities to determine whether a person is eligible for these benefits. 

Neurological disorders including dementia originate in a person’s brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. The symptoms a person experiences can range from mild to severe. While some neurological disorders can be effectively managed with diet, medications, and physical therapy, others continue to cause long-term, debilitating symptoms. The medical term “neurological” encompasses many different types of disorders, including dementia. The listing most commonly associated with a dementia diagnosis is listing 12.02 under neurocognitive disorders.

Proving You Are Qualified for Long-Term Disability

Becoming eligible for Social Security benefits requires an applicant to prove that they cannot work because of their medical condition. In other words, the Social Security Administration considers a person disabled when they cannot do the work they did previously and can’t adjust to another type of work due to a medical condition. Under disability listing 12.02 for neurocognitive disorders, you will need to provide medical evidence proving that your abilities have significantly declined in one or more of the following areas due to dementia:

  • Planning and judgment
  • Learning and remembering (short-term memory loss affects the ability to learn)
  • Paying attention to tasks
  • Listening to others
  • Using language, such as recalling words and using words properly
  • Social judgment, including knowing proper social behavior in differing circumstances 
  • Physical coordination

Disability Advocates Group can help you obtain medical evidence documenting these symptoms to meet the requirements of this disability listing in the Blue Book. If you haven’t been diagnosed with dementia, you may still qualify for benefits by showing you cannot work. However, receiving a medical diagnosis will help your claim significantly. Whatever neurological medical condition you have, it’s crucial that you keep track of all of your medical records, including your doctor’s visits, prescribed medication, and diagnostic testing. It’s also important to keep a journal of your symptoms and their severity.

Doing so can help you prove that your medical condition significantly affects your daily life, making it impossible for you to work full-time. Additionally, obtaining opinion statements from your doctor can help you document the severity of your dementia diagnosis. When you work with Disability Advocates Group, you can rest assured that we will help you gather all the evidence you need to complete a thorough application for benefits.

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Disability 

Most applications for Social Security benefits are denied on the first attempt. There are multiple reasons why the Social Security Administration may have denied your claim. In some cases, the denial is a simple reason, such as that there is insufficient evidence to show the extent and severity of your neurological disorder. 

Another possibility is that an incorrect policy number or legal technicality led to your claim being denied. When you work with Disability Advocates Group, we can help you prepare your application in a way that avoids the following common mistakes that lead to unnecessary denials of claims:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Missing medical records
  • Insufficient evidence documenting the severity of your neurological condition
  • Failing to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled
  • Insufficient evidence to prove that the condition is as severe as you claim
  • Mistakes made on the application
  • Failure to provide all of the requested information 

Appealing a Denial of Your Claim for Benefits for a Neurological Disorder

If the Social Security Administration denies your claim, you are not alone. Denials of first-time claims are common, and you can appeal. You will receive a notice of denial explaining why the Social Security Administration denied your claim. The notice will also provide you with a deadline for filing an appeal. If your claim has been denied, we recommend contacting an attorney who can help you address the denial.

Disability Advocates Group can help you gather additional supporting evidence to prove you cannot work due to dementia. After the request or reconsideration, your claim may be denied again. In that case, you have the opportunity to file the request for an administrative law hearing. During the hearing, you and your attorney will go before an administrative law judge who will review the evidence in your case and determine if you qualify for benefits. Both the judge and medical/vocational experts may ask you questions. Working with an attorney gives you the best opportunity to succeed in your appeal. 

Contact Our Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney

Are you suffering from dementia or any other neurological disorder that is causing you to be unable to work anymore? If so, Disability Advocates Group is here to help. Our Social Security disability benefits advocates are here to answer all your questions during your free case evaluation. 

We can help you understand whether your diagnosis constitutes a disability and whether it’s significant enough to be deemed disabling by the Social Security Administration for you to obtain benefits. We can appeal your case and continue fighting for you if your application has been denied. Contact the Los Angeles area attorneys at Disability Advocates Group to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.