If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial benefits for people of all ages who are unable to work due to a serious and long-term disability or injury. While Parkinson’s disease (PD) will not automatically qualify with a diagnosis alone, you may be eligible for assistance depending on the severity of your symptoms. Meeting the SSA’s Medical Eligibility CriteriaThe SSA has its own medical guide of qualifying criteria known as the Blue Book. To qualify for Social Security benefits, you usually need to meet a Blue Book listing corresponding with your diagnosis. In the Blue Book, there are two ways to qualify with PD:1. You have extreme difficulty moving two limbs (both arms, both legs, or one apiece), which prevents you from performing at least one of the following: • Standing from a seated position• Balance while standing or walking• Performing dexterous movements with your hands and/or arms, such as typing or carrying items2. You have limited mobility* which affects your physical ability to do work, plus at least one of the following:• Difficulty understanding, remembering, and applying information• Difficulty interacting with others• Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks• Difficulty “adapting and managing” yourself, which basically means behaving appropriately in an office setting*What is the difference between limited mobility and “extreme difficulty” with moving at least two limbs? “Limited mobility” means that your PD makes it harder to do daily living activities, but you’re still able to stand from a seated position or balance while walking. Three Months’ TreatmentBefore applying, it’s important to know that the SSA requires you to go through at least three months’ treatment prescribed by your doctor before you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits with PD. Treatment can include medication, physical therapy, or any combination of the two. This means that if you were just diagnosed with PD, you should wait at least three months before applying. People with recent diagnoses will unfortunately automatically be denied regardless of how severe their PD symptoms are.Age and Social Security Disability Another important factor to keep in mind is your age while applying. If you’ve worked throughout life and have recently been diagnosed with PD, you will only be eligible if you’re under your “full retirement age,” which is 65-66 for most people. If you’re receiving Social Security disability retirement benefits, you will not be eligible for disability benefits on top of your retirement benefits. If you’re eligible for early retirement benefits (age 62-65) and are wondering if you should apply for disability, always apply for disability first. Your Social Security disability benefits will equal what your maximum Social Security retirement benefit, had you continued to work until your full retirement age. At 65, your disability benefits will convert to retirement benefits (the payment will not change).Starting Your ApplicationMost applicants can file for Social Security disability online. If your PD prevents you from using a computer, a family member can always complete the application on your behalf. If you’d prefer to apply in person, there are over 1,300 local SSA offices located across the country. You schedule an appointment to apply in person by calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ or by contacting them at email@example.com.