Heaing for trigeminal neuralgia
November 29, 2007 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Any advice for a disability hearing for trigeminal neuralgia?

One of my friends has trigeminal neuralgia--a nerve problem which causes frequent excruciating pain. She hasn't been able to work for two years.

Her hearing for disability is coming up in two weeks. She has a lawyer, but I was still wondering if anyone here has advice on getting disability for a serious problem which isn't one of the more visible handicaps.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Your friend might want to read
Social Security Ruling 96-7p
for insight on how the Social Security Administration is supposed to evaluate subjective complaints of pain.

That being said, what wins Social Security disability cases is medical evidence. Your friend's lawyer should have already obtained, or should be in the process of obtaining, in addition to the treatment notes, a statement from her treating physician that outlines her diagnosis, indicates the objective findings that support the diagnosis, establishes whether or not your friend has a condition that could reasonably account for her pain, and sets forth what work related limitations stem form her condition, with a special emphasis on her how much work she would miss.

In my experience, most Social Security Administrative Law Judges will have had some experience with trigeminal neuralgia and will be familiar with it. It is a condition that is known to cause excruciating pain.

Good luck to your friend.
posted by pasici at 7:35 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Has your friend spoken to anyone with the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association?

Their Mission: The mission of TNA (Trigeminal Neuralgia Association) is to serve as an advocate for patients living with TN (Trigeminal Neuralgia) and related facial pain conditions by providing information, encouraging research and offering support.

They really are very open and friendly. They have a ton of information and may be able to advise her on the types of documentation to bring to her hearing. Additionally, they can put her in touch with local resources including a local support group and recommend doctors experienced in treating TN.

TN sucks and I'm sorry your friend is going through this. I've seen my mom unable to do anything for weeks at a time due to the pain. Mine is still manageable; probably because of my age. If your friend is not in touch with the association, please encourage her to reach out to them.
posted by onhazier at 6:05 AM on November 30, 2007

pasici has it right, Nancy. The best thing that will help your friend win a disability case for trigeminal neuralgia is the same thing that would help win most disability cases; lots of medical documentation from doctors. I wouldn't worry too much about the non-visible nature of the condition as long as there is adequate documentation. They deal with things like this all the time.

It may be important to point out the unpredictable nature of trigeminal neuralgia such that your friend can't know when or if she will be able to work on any given day/time. The lawyer should know that already, though.

TM sucks, good luck to your friend.

(RASFW represent, nancy!)
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on November 30, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the information and good wishes.

I may have been too worried--I was basing my concern on what a different friend went through, but he has the nasty combination of extreme depression and anxiety.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:46 AM on December 1, 2007

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