Thank You! Over 500 Parkinson's Comments Submitted to SSA

PAN wants to thank the hundreds of you who took a moment to share your comments with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your comments will be critical to the implementation of proposed rules used to evaluate whether people with Parkinson's and other neurological disorders qualify for disability.

As of June 2 deadline, over 540 Parkinson’s-specific comments had been submitted, representing just under 20 percent of the total number of comments on the proposed rule. Given the broad scope of neurological disorders covered by the rule, this is a very strong response from our community – and SSA will take notice of both the volume and content of the submissions.

We followed-up our initial comments with information from a new study that supports our recommendation that the final rule reflect an appropriate balance between motor and non-motor symptoms for the purposes of evaluating Parkinson’s-related disability.

The study was conducted by clinicians and researchers at the Department of Neurology, Epidemiology, and Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is titled, “What Are the Determinants of Leaving the Workforce in Parkinson’s Disease?” It highlights the behavioral features associated with earlier leaving of the workforce in patients with Parkinson’s disease, including non-motor and cognitive symptoms like depression. In an examination of over 400 employed patients with Parkinson’s, the study found that worse depression and cognition at baseline were predictive of individuals leaving the workforce.

SSA has not given a timetable for when the rule will be updated and finalized, but we will remain in contact with the agency and provide you with any additional opportunities to engage if they become available.

Thank you again for lending your voice to this critical issue.

Date originally posted: June 6, 2014.