Qualifying Impairments for SSD Benefits in AlabamaIf you believe you should be receiving Social Security disability benefits, be prepared for a process that involves lots of documentation, paperwork, and hard work. However, if you get through this process successfully, you could get the financial support you need to live with your disability.
Much of the SSA’s choice in whether or not to give someone disability benefits is dependent upon the severity of their condition. This is why they created the impairment listing manual, which is also known as the “Blue Book.” This book contains information on impairments that qualify an individual for SSDI or SSI. In addition to a list of impairments, the book has information on the diagnostic criteria that must be met for each condition.
Learn more about SSD qualifying impairments, and when you’re ready to start your Social Security application, reach out to Dansby Law at 334-834-7001.
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.
Common Qualifying Impairments
Among the categories utilized by the SSA, there are some diagnoses that are extremely common among SSD applicants. Common impairments that may qualify you for SSD benefits include:
- Spinal disorders
- Coronary artery disease
- Lung cancer
- Parkinson’s Disease
The SSA Blue Book breaks down qualifying impairments into specific categories. They are categorized into:
- Musculoskeletal system. This includes injuries like major dysfunction of a joint, spine disorders, amputation, fracture of a tarsal bone, and soft tissue injuries.
- Special senses and speech. Impairments include loss of central visual acuity, loss of visual efficiency, and loss of speech.
- Respiratory disorders. Listings in this category include asthma, cystic fibrosis, lung transplant, and respiratory failure.
- Cardiovascular system. Covered impairments include chronic heart failure, recurrent arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, and heart transplant.
- Digestive system. These impairments include chronic liver disease, short bowel syndrome, and gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.
- Genitourinary disorders. This category includes chronic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, and complications of chronic kidney disease.
- Hematological disorders. Covered impairments include bone marrow failure disorders, thrombosis and hemostasis disorders, hemolytic anemias, and repeated complications of hematological disorders.
- Skin disorders. Disorders in this category include bullous disease, dermatitis, and burns.
- Endocrine disorders. Items in this category include chronic hyperglycemia, pituitary gland disorders, and parathyroid gland disorders.
- Congenital disorders affecting multiple body systems. This list includes non-mosaic Down syndrome.
- Neurological disorders. Among these disorders, you’ll find epilepsy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord disorders.
- Mental disorders. Disorders in this list include somatic symptom, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Cancer. This category includes cancers that affect every type of the body, including skin, soft tissue sarcomas, thyroid gland, and lung.
- Immune system disorders. Some of the items on this list are systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic vasculitis, and immune deficiency disorders.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of the disorders within each category. Included diagnoses change each year, and it is recommended that you speak with a disability lawyer to fully explore your options.
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.
It is difficult but necessary for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to assess your physical abilities before awarding you Social Security Disability benefits. An important component of how the SSA assesses your physical abilities is by asking you to explain how your disability affects your everyday life, and to describe the ways that carrying out these activities has changed since you became disabled.
The SSA makes this assessment by asking you to complete a survey describing your ability to complete Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. These activities include:
- Housekeeping tasks, such as vacuuming, mopping, doing laundry, and scrubbing
- Personal hygiene and grooming tasks, such as brushing your hair, bathing, showering, dressing yourself, shaving, or applying makeup
- Driving your car
- Shopping for groceries
- Pumping gas
- Cooking meals
- Engaging in hobbies you once enjoyed
- Social outings with friends or partners
- Traveling on vacations
What If My Criteria Doesn’t Match?
Each diagnosis has a specific set of criteria that must be met for automatic disability benefits. As an example, a diagnosis of bullous disease must include proof that the patient has had extensive skin legions for a period of at least three months that have persisted through continued recommended medical treatments.
However, even if you do not meet the diagnostic or testing criteria of the diagnosis, you may still be able to receive disability benefits. Remember, you do not have to have one of these disabilities and the listed symptoms to qualify; these listings are highly specific because they allow an individual to qualify for benefits immediately.
If you have a diagnosis but you do not meet the specific criteria listed within the Blue Book, you should discuss your concerns with a doctor experienced in Social Security cases. They will be able to look over your medical records, order tests that may be able to prove the extent of your disability, and gather the documents needed to prove your limited work abilities. It isn’t as easy to get SSD benefits without the symptoms and diagnostic criteria listed in the Blue Book, but it is still possible with a doctor who understands what the SSA looks for.
What If My Impairment Isn’t Listed?
You may wonder if your disability application is even worth filling out if your impairment isn’t listed in the Blue Book. You might still qualify for SSD benefits, even if your diagnosis isn’t in the book! Remember, the book isn’t a full list of every disability that qualifies for SSD. If you can demonstrate that your disability limits your ability to work to the same extent that a listed disability would, you have a chance to receive benefits.
This process is a bit more challenging, and it’s recommended that you work with an SSD lawyer and a doctor who has helped patients through this process before.
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.
Why You Need an Attorney for Your Disability Claim
Hiring an attorney for your SSD application can help you save time and minimize the uncertainty that comes with this process. The vast majority of applications are denied the first time around; this isn’t because the applicant doesn’t deserve benefits, but because a cursory glance at the file warranted a denial. When you work with an experienced disability attorney, you can gather the documentation and evidence needed to prove the extent of your injuries and create a strong application file. Your attorney can help you avoid common missteps that may delay your application or lead to a denial. If your application is denied, they will guide you through the appeals process and fight for the benefits you deserve.
Dansby Law is Here to Help with Your Disability Claim
Are you ready to apply for SSD benefits or fight an appeal? Don’t go alone when we are here to help! The team at Dansby Law is committed to helping as many individuals as possible get the benefits they are entitled to through the SSA. To set up a consultation and discuss your needs, reach out online or call us at 334-834-7001.