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Is Neuropathy a Disability? How to Qualify for Benefits

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
Published March 25, 2024
Updated April 11, 2024
4 min read

Your neuropathy could qualify you for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration if you can’t work or handle daily activities on your own because of it. In 2021, 9.9% of disabled workers received benefits for peripheral neuropathy and other neurological conditions.

In this article, we’ll explain how the Social Security Administration evaluates peripheral neuropathy and what next steps you should take to start receiving benefits.

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy, also called peripheral neuritis, refers to damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system transmits signals from different parts of the body to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, at least 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy. Because the peripheral nervous system is so large, and because there are multiple ways signaling can be disrupted, there are over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy.

Is peripheral neuropathy a disability?

Yes, peripheral neuropathy is a disability according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), as long as your symptoms or treatments keep you from being able to work. Peripheral neuropathy is also a possible symptom of other disabilities that the SSA recognizes.

If your peripheral neuropathy is substantially limiting, you are also covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects people with disabilities from discrimination.

Common causes of peripheral neuropathy

The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes — which can also qualify you for disability — but neuropathy can also result from infections, injuries, or exposure to toxins. Neuropathy may also be a genetic condition or one that you acquire later in life.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending on the type of neuropathy. Some common symptoms include:

  • 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, 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.

Related: What Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

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, such as diabetes if you have diabetic neuropathy. 

See if your neuropathy qualifies for disability.

Criteria for getting disability with peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy falls under section 11 of the SSA’s Blue Book: Neurological Disorders. To qualify for disability with peripheral neuropathy, you must show the SSA medical records and non-medical 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 you have trouble adapting to new situations or managing yourself?

  • 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.)

If you would rather start the application on your own, Atticus can help you with that, too. Use our line-by-line breakdown of the disability application, which includes advice and tips from our team of lawyers.

Two types of Social Security disability payments

There are two types of Social Security disability benefits: SSDI and SSI.

SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is an option if you worked and paid taxes for years before you became disabled — usually for five or more of the past 10 years. 

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is an option for people who have little to no income, savings, or other assets. SSI is also an option for people without much recent work history.

It’s also possible to get both programs at the same time. For some people, the best option is actually to apply for SSDI and SSI together.

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 was $1,342.17 per month in 2021.

Estimate your disability benefit amount in just a few steps

We'll use the Social Security Administration's formula to estimate your monthly benefit.

monthly check


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.

To learn more about how much your personal disability check will be, here’s our guide to how much people make on disability.

SSDI amounts

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. 

If you need other assistance in the near term — like help with finances or getting affordable housing — we’ve collected some state and federal resources for people with disabilities.

Increase your chances of winning benefits by three times with the help of a lawyer.

Other conditions that can qualify for disability:







Back pain

Bipolar disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Brain tumor

Breast cancer


Carpal tunnel

Colostomy bag

Coma/Vegetative States


Crohn's disease






Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Kidney disease

Long Covid


Mental illness



OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)

Panic disorder


Peripheral neuropathy


Rheumatoid Arthritis Schizophrenia


Sickle cell

Ulcerative colitis

See all conditions

See what you qualify for

How long has your condition made it hard to work?

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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