Periodic Paralysis and Social Security Disability Benefits

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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Periodic Paralysis, you may be concerned about your future ability to work.

The good news is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes disability benefits available for those who are physically unable to earn income due to Periodic Paralysis. Receiving this monthly support income will go a long way toward easing your financial worries during this very difficult adjustment period.

What Disability Benefits Are Available?

The SSA has two types of disability benefits available for people who require financial help after being diagnosed with a debilitating illness. The eligibility requirements are the same for both categories, but each one is aimed at a different type of recipient.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is a “merit-oriented” program intended for people who have worked for a certain number of hours and paid Social Security taxes. So long as you have worked any five of the past ten years, (less if you’re under age 40), you will likely qualify for SSDI benefits.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is aimed at applicants who have not yet paid enough into Social Security or who have little to no income, such as children and the elderly. Because it is needs based, anyone who meets certain low-income criteria can apply. If you have a spouse who earns a living wage, you will not qualify for SSI benefits.

How to Medically Qualify for SSA Benefits with Paralysis

To be eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits, the condition that caused your paralysis needs to meet the medical criteria in the Blue Book, the SSA guide of disabling conditions and their qualifying criteria. Because Periodic Paralysis is under the muscular dystrophy umbrella, you will need to qualify under Section 11.00—Muscular Dystrophy

To be found eligible for benefits under this listing, your application and medical records must confirm that your Periodic Paralysis causes “disorganization of motor function.”

Disorganization of motor function includes one of the following:

  • Sensory or speech impairment that results in ineffective speech or other forms of communication, OR
  • Significant and persistent motor function impairment in two limbs, resulting in challenges with dexterous movements, standing, or walking.

Under this Blue Book listing, you will medically qualify if you require a wheelchair. You could also qualify if you walk but cannot preform detailed movements with your hands that could be used to find employment, such as writing, typing, or answering a phone.

The SSDI and SSI Application Process

When applying for disability benefits, you (or someone else on your behalf) will have to complete and submit a comprehensive application form. This form must be accompanied by medical records, including:

  • A physician’s / surgeon’s report explaining your diagnosis and prognosis
  • Occupational and / or physical therapy records
  • Prescription records

SSDI applicants will need to prove that they worked a certain amount of time and paid Social Security taxes prior to the injury. If you are applying for SSI, your financial resources must be highly limited and an SSA representative will need to interview you.

For more information about SSA disability benefits and how you can apply, visit the SSA website, visit your local SSA office, or call 1-800-772-1213 to start the application. Once you start to receive the financial assistance you need, you can focus on rebuilding your life.

This article was provided by the staff of Social Security Disability Help. If you need any help with your claim, feel free to contact us at

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