Most people have never heard of ataxia before, likely because it’s a pretty rare condition that is often misdiagnosed. Even less have heard of spinocerebellar ataxia, a form of hereditary ataxia of which there are more than 20 types that share similar symptoms. Despite it being rare, this disease has affected approximately 150,000 people in the United States alone. Ataxia affects the daily lives of these people immensely and is often considered a disability. Therefore, if you are unable to work as a result of spinocerebellar ataxia (or any other form of ataxia), you should consider filing ataxia disability claims. You may be eligible for Long Term Disability and/or Social Security Disability benefits.
However, if you decide to pursue these benefits, it’s not guaranteed that you will be approved. In order to avoid a claim denial, you will need to supply your disability insurance company or the Social Security Administration with medical evidence to support your claim. You may even need the professional assistance of a national disability lawyer such as those at the Ortiz Law Firm.
What Is Ataxia?
Ataxia is a group of chronic neurological disorders that predominantly affects the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls muscle coordination required for movement. It also affects the brain stem and spinal cord, making it hard for your brain to send signals throughout your nervous system. Ataxia is also the least common form of cerebral palsy.
The symptoms of ataxia vary by the age of onset, which can be anywhere from late childhood to late adulthood, and by the type of ataxia. Common symptoms for patients with this condition include:
- Impaired eye movements
- Slurred speech
- Trouble with swallowing
- Impaired fine motor control such as impairment of handwriting
- Gait and balance problems
- Fall risk
- Repetitive bobbing, swaying, and jerking movements, and
As the disease progresses, cerebellar degeneration increases, symptoms get worse, and many patients will experience a decrease in muscle coordination, which includes control over their legs and movement. As such, they need to use a cane, walker, or wheelchair to get around. In addition, the immune system is often weakened by ataxia, thus leading to complications like heart problems, diabetes, lung infections, and cancer.
Causes of Ataxia
There are different types of ataxia, the most common one being Friedreich’s ataxia. Others include spinocerebellar ataxia, gluten ataxia, episodic Ataxia, and AOA2. Some of the different types of ataxia include:
- Acquired through injury or illness such as brain injury caused by an accident, spinal cord injury, stroke, brain tumors
- Due to exposure or ingestion of toxins, for example, alcohol misuse, gluten intolerance, and
- Vitamin E deficiencies
Genetic ataxia is usually caused by a birth defect, while the causes for idiopathic ataxia are still unknown. Currently, there are no cures or means of slowing down spinocerebellar ataxia or any of the other types of ataxia, meaning that the conditions only worsen with time. Fortunately, there are several medications that, when coupled with therapy, can be used to manage symptoms, such as loss of muscle coordination, and improve the quality of life.
Ataxia Disability Claims
Living with ataxia can often be a struggle. It makes daily tasks challenging, even the simple ones like getting out of bed or taking a shower. The severity of the condition and its resulting symptoms can make it impossible to work and earn a living. However, not everyone with ataxia qualifies for disability benefits. It’s the severity of your symptoms that make you disabled, not the name of the disease. Your symptoms and limitations must be well documented in your medical records. It also depends on who is deciding that you are disabled – a disability insurance policy will have different requirements than the SSA.
Can I Get Long Term Disability Benefits For Ataxia?
Before you apply for long-term disability benefits, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process. The underlying factor of whether or not you get long term disability for Ataxia is whether or not you can work. For a disability insurance case to be successful, the claimant has to prove that their ataxia has had such a severe impact on the claimant that he/she is unable to sustain employment. The insurer assigns a claims specialist, and maybe even an independent medical consultant, who then go through your medical records and work history to determine what you can do despite your limited motor skills.
To fully support your disability insurance claim, you may need the help of an experienced disability lawyer. It would help if you considered hiring a disability attorney. No one understands your hardship better than we do. We know that the last thing you want is to fight against your insurance company. As such, we will work effortlessly to ensure the insurance company will pay out the benefits that you rightfully deserve.
Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Ataxia?
The Social Security Administration recognizes ataxia as a disabling condition. Therefore, if you have ataxia, you can apply to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. But you have to meet certain criteria to qualify for the disability benefits. According to the Blue Book, you must have one of the following:
- Disorganized motor functioning such that you can’t stand or balance while walking
- Limited physical functioning
- Inability to adapt or manage oneself, understand, apply or remember information, concentrate, persist, or maintain pace, and interact with others
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has identified three types of ataxia that qualify for expedited benefits under the Compassionate Allowances program. The Compassionate Allowances’ listing includes conditions that are clearly covered as disabilities without the Social Security System needing a lot of medical documentation, which can take longer to get. These three types of Ataxia that qualify for a Compassionate Allowance are Friedreich’s Ataxia, Cerebral Ataxia, and Ataxia telangiectasia (AT).
If your claim for Social Security Disability benefits meets the Social Security requirements for Compassionate Allowances, it will be approved and put on a fast track for processing. Now you don’t have to wait months for your Social Security Disability claim process before you receive Social Security Disability benefits.
The process of applying for SSDI can be a never-ending and tiring cycle, especially if you don’t understand the rules and procedures. To navigate the process with ease, you should consider seeking professional help. At our firm, we have assisted many clients suffering from ataxia in obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, and we believe we can help you too. We will start by determining if you meet the Blue Book’s requirements and then provide you with the skilled legal representation you need to have a successful claim.
If you need assistance filing your ataxia Social Security disability claim, the Ortiz Law Firm is your go-to legal team regardless of your location. We are committed to helping our clients recover the disability benefits that they are entitled to. Our detailed knowledge of the Social Security process gives us an upper hand. With it, we can help you file for benefits and assist you in jumping through the Social Security Administration hoops and hurdles from start to finish.
With our skilled advocacy, you can rest assured that your case is in the best hands. Mr. Ortiz and his associates fully understand your situation and will ease the burden of fighting this battle alone. We are here for you. Our team will strive to make this process as fast and easy as we can. Call us today to learn more about qualifying for SSDI benefits.
Get Help from an Ataxia Disability Lawyer
If you live with ataxia and are unable to work, it might be time to think about applying for disability benefits. Getting these benefits can make a huge difference in your life and that of your family. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to begin the claims process today. For the best outcome, you should work with an ataxia disability attorney. We handle disability insurance claims as well as those with the SSA.
Hiring an experienced ataxia disability attorney can help you determine if you meet the SSA listing for this condition or qualify for benefits under the terms of your disability insurance policy. However, finding lawyers that specialize in disability cases is a tough sport. So please don’t settle for just any lawyer. It is in your best interest to work with a law firm like Ortiz Law Firm that is dedicated to this type of case. We can help you understand the process and work with you on your application to maximize the chances of approval.
Our team, led by the experienced Nick Ortiz, will be with you every step of the way to ensure there are little to no troubles. We want you to get your disability benefits as much as you do and as soon as possible. We will help you compile the necessary documents and evidence that you will need to prove your claim and, after that, devise a strategy to negotiate it. In the event that your claim has been denied, you have the right to appeal. Winning such an appeal is no easy task, but you don’t have to worry with our firm on your side.
There is no doubt about it; we are good at what we do. Our clients’ reviews say it all. Working with us will put you one step closer to winning your case. And you don’t pay us a cent until we help you win your case. So go ahead and call us today for a free evaluation of your case. We offer a free evaluation to disability insurance claimants that have been wrongfully denied or terminated as well as Social Security Disability claimants. We are looking forward to helping you with your claim. Call us at (888) 321-8131.