Is My Condition Disabling Enough for Social Security Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can help provide for you and your loved ones when an illness, disability, or injury prevents you from working and earning an income. Applying and getting accepted for these benefits can seem like a cumbersome process. It can involve a mountain of paperwork, several specific steps, and even an in-person hearing in some cases.
The first thing you will need to determine is whether you meet certain basic conditions, one of which is that your situation is disabling enough to qualify for SSDI. Before you get to the part about your physical health, you might want to make sure that you also meet some other requirements.
What Are the Basic SSDI Qualifications?
The requirements to collect SSDI benefits are strict. They are as follows:
- You are currently younger than your full retirement age (FRA).
- You have accrued enough Social Security work credits to pass two work tests: the “duration of work” test and the “recent work test.” This is a credit requirement that acts on a sliding scale based on your age.
- You can’t earn more than the minimum amount of money ($1,180 per month in 2018).
- Your medical condition or disability must be so severe that it prevents you from working, and it is either expected to result in death or last at least 12 months.
Conditions That Qualify for Social Security Benefits
According to the SSA, there are certain conditions that will automatically qualify you as disabled. Provided you have the documentation and meet the other basic SSDI qualifications, having your diagnosis on this list can shorten the disability application process.
The SSA divides the qualifying conditions into a list of impairments for adults and another list for children. The list for adults (individuals ages 18 and older) is divided into 14 categories with additional conditions listed under each category. Those categories and a few of the qualifying conditions for each are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), degenerative disc disease, arthritis.
- Heart disease, heart failure.
- Congenital Disorders. Down’s syndrome.
- Digestive System. Hepatic (liver) dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease.
- Endocrine Gland Disorders. Thyroid gland disorders.
- Genitourinary Disorders. Hypertensive neuropathy.
- Hematological Disorders. Bone marrow failure, hemolytic anemias.
- Immune System Disorders. Lupus, inflammatory arthritis.
- Mental Disorders. Bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder.
- Neurological Disorders. Multiple sclerosis, epilepsy.
- Respiratory System. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Skin Disorders. Burns, dermatitis, bullous diseases.
- Speech and Special Senses. Hearing loss, statutory blindness.
Even if your condition is on this list or on the expanded list provided by the SSA, this is not a guarantee of receiving SSDI benefits. Whoever reviews your case may not feel that you have provided sufficient documentation to prove disability or there could be other technical issues with your application that prompt a denial.
What You Can Do If Your Condition Isn’t Listed
If your condition isn’t listed, this does not completely rule out your receiving SSDI benefits, but you will have a tougher case to prove. Specifically, you will need to show that your current condition is of a severity that is equal to that of one of the listed conditions.
In some cases, a person might suffer from several medical conditions that, by themselves, would not meet the criteria for disability benefits. But, when combined, these conditions render a person unable to work. If this is your situation, or if you need help getting approved for SSDI, our qualified disability lawyers can help you navigate this process.
Speak with An Experienced Disability Lawyer
Even if you meet every qualification and have a medical condition listed, the chances of your SSDI application being approved on the first try are not in your favor. The SSA denies roughly 64 percent of all initial disability claims. While claimants can appeal these cases, many aren’t sure where to begin and simply give up at this point.
When you are unable to work, you are already experiencing a financial burden that will only worsen with time. The experienced disability attorneys at The Dansby Law Firm, P.C. can help with your initial application or an appeal. Contact our Montgomery office now at 334-834-7001 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.