Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that is more commonly known as ‘nerve damage’ in the extremities. It affects the peripheral nervous system—the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. This condition can be brought about by a number of disorders, Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosisincluding diabetes and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. It can also be a result of tumors, exposure to toxic chemicals, and infections. Some people suffer from idiopathic neuropathy—where the cause isn’t known.

Millions of Americans suffer from debilitating neuropathy. The condition may keep a person from working or living a normal life because it can seriously restrict the ability to carry items, lift, stand, or walk. It’s possible to receive disability benefits for this condition; however, it’s common for an initial filing and an appeal for neuropathy disability to be denied because the claim doesn’t meet the requirements set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Symptoms of Neuropathy

People who suffer from neuropathy experience a variety of symptoms based on the nerves that have been damaged. These symptoms include:

  • Motor nerve damage: Many people experience muscle spasms, weakness, and cramps. People can also experience a loss of coordination and balance.
  • Sensory nerve damage. Those with neuropathy can experience pain, numbness, and tingling. People with this type of nerve damage describe the pain as a freezing or burning sensation.
  • Autonomic nerve damage. The autonomic nerves are damaged and can result in an abnormal heart rate and blood pressure, decreased ability to sweat, and constipation.

How to Receive Social Security Benefits for Neuropathy

To meet the SSA listing requirement for neuropathy, your condition must show “disorganization of motor function with significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.” In addition, your medical records must show a history of disabling neuropathy that meets these requirements. A claim reviewer will assess how your symptoms affect the use of your arms, fingers, and hands. But even if your symptoms don’t meet the SSA’s exact specifications, you may be eligible for benefits based on your work skills, age, education, and functional limitations. 

If your neuropathy is interfering with your life and work, contact us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation. We can help determine if you’re eligible for SSA disability benefits.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska