Serving Central California Since 1995

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary physical movements or vocal sounds. These actions may include kicking, facial tics, sudden jerking movements, shouts, grunts, or many other fits. In some cases, the symptoms can be quite severe, including involuntary jumping or biting, and can put the individual’s safety and well-being in danger.

There are many symptoms that an individual with Tourette’s syndrome may suffer from that can prevent that individual from maintaining full-time work activity. The inability to work can lead to significant financial distress. Fortunately, in some cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help alleviate some of the financial stress caused by the condition.

In order to be eligible to receive disability benefits, you must meet the SSA’s medical qualifying criteria. When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will compare your condition to a listing of conditions. Unfortunately, there is no specific listing for adults with Tourette’s syndrome in the SSA’s rules. Individuals who suffer from Tourette’s syndrome may, however, be able to qualify under a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Evaluation.

The SSA will evaluate both your physical and mental residual functional capacity. The physical RFC will evaluate your ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, climb, etc. The mental RFC will evaluate your ability to mental and emotional work-related activities such as interacting with co-workers and getting along, ability to follow direction, etc. People with Tourette’s are more likely to qualify through the mental RFC since the symptoms of Tourette’s are frequently disruptive and can have an adverse impact on an individual’s ability to interact and be productive in the work place.

When it comes to children with Tourette’s, the guidelines are quite different. Children can qualify for by meeting the listing for tic disorders in the blue book. The child must experience:

Ongoing, involuntary motor movements that are repetitive, rapid, and purposeless that affect multiple muscle groups along with multiple vocal tics

Ongoing difficulty with one of the following (not caused by a physical illness or disease):

Use of an arm or leg
Movement and control of the body
Physical sensation
Digestion or elimination (urinating or defecating)
The obsessive belief that the child has a serious disease or injury

In addition, the child must have severe difficulties, for their age group, in two of the following areas:

Age-appropriate cognitive or communicative function
Age-appropriate social functioning
Age-appropriate personal functioning
Maintaining concentration, persistence or pace

Good medical evidence is essential for a successful outcome, but seeing a person with severe Tourette’s Syndrome might be enough to qualify for benefits.