Peripheral neuropathy, also called peripheral neuritis, occurs from damage to your nerves outside your central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Your neuropathy could also qualify you for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you can’t work or handle daily activities on your own because of it.
So you can better understand whether your condition may qualify, we’ll explain how the SSA evaluates peripheral neuropathy and what next steps you should take to apply for benefits.
Is peripheral neuropathy a disability?
Yes, peripheral neuropathy is a disability according to the SSA, as long as your symptoms or treatments keep you from being able to work. Peripheral neuropathy is also a possible symptom for other disabilities that the SSA recognizes.
Common causes and symptoms for peripheral neuropathy
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes (another condition that can qualify you for disability), but it can be the result of numerous conditions, such as infections, injuries, or exposure to toxins. It may also be a genetic condition or one that you acquire later in life.
In terms of symptoms, you will likely experience weakness, numbness, and pain in parts of your body. Symptoms in the hands and feet are common but may be present elsewhere.
If your neuropathy affects your motor nerves, you may experience significant pain while walking, painful cramps, or muscle twitches. When sensory nerves are damaged, otherwise light skin contact could be painful — especially at night. If your autonomic nerves are impacted, your neuropathy may lead to issues with your blood circulation, digestion, breathing, or urination.
Can you get disability benefits for peripheral neuropathy?
Yes, you can qualify for disability with peripheral neuropathy. However, a diagnosis from your doctor isn’t enough. The SSA will need to see clear evidence that your neuropathy is so severe that it keeps you from being able to work a job.
You can also qualify for benefits with other conditions that you may experience alongside your neuropathy, namely diabetes. (Learn more about how to get disability with diabetes.)
Criteria for getting disability with peripheral neuropathy
To qualify for disability with peripheral neuropathy, you must show the SSA medical and nonmedical evidence that your condition gets in the way of your ability to work or hold a job.
Below are examples of questions the SSA will use to determine if you qualify for peripheral neuropathy disability. If you answer yes to these questions, you may qualify for disability benefits:
Do you experience disorganization of motor function, such as limitations in the ability to stand from a seated position, balance while walking and standing, or use of the upper extremities (hands, wrists, arms, shoulders)?
Do you experience sensory or motor aphasia (difficulty speaking)?
Have you experienced symptoms of peripheral neuropathy for at least three consecutive months?
Does peripheral neuropathy limit your ability to concentrate on a single task or maintain a steady pace of work?
Do you have difficulty understanding, remembering, applying feedback, or interacting with others?
Do the symptoms of your neuropathy make it difficult or impossible for you to handle daily chores without the help of others?
Do you see a specialist, like a neurologist or pain management doctor?
Do you experience any other conditions — like diabetes, insomnia, or depression — alongside your neuropathy?
Unsure if your neuropathy is enough to get you approved for benefits? The easiest way to tell is to fill out our free eligibility quiz. If it does look like you could qualify, we can also match you with a disability lawyer who can help you apply for benefits with peripheral neuropathy.
My peripheral neuropathy meets the criteria. Now what?
Does it sound like your peripheral neuropathy could meet the SSA criteria? The next step is to apply for benefits.
The easiest way to fill out your disability application is by working with a disability lawyer. They’ll be able to complete the application in a way that resonates with the SSA while answering any questions you have. To get matched with a qualified lawyer (for free) fill out our 2-minute Social Security quiz. (Our services are always free and you’ll only ever pay the lawyer if you win your case.)
How much are peripheral neuropathy disability benefits?
The average Social Security disability check for someone diagnosed with a disease of the nervous system like peripheral neuropathy is $1,420.62 per month.
Exactly how much you get will depend on your work or income history. In 2024, the maximum possible benefit for SSDI is $3,822 per month. For SSI, the average monthly benefit is $943 per month. Those maximum amounts are set by law and your exact condition will change how much you get.
What if my peripheral neuropathy does not meet the criteria?
Not sure that your peripheral neuropathy meets the criteria to qualify? Consider applying for benefits anyway.
It’s possible your application will be denied, but it’s worth noting that less than one-quarter of all initial applications are approved. After that first denial, you’ll have the chance to appeal and eventually present your case in front of a judge. Of people who make it to the hearing state, more than half get approved for Social Security disability.
Having a disability lawyer to help with your application can also increase your chances. Applicants with lawyers are three times more likely to win benefits. (Learn more about how a lawyer can help you.)
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