What Medical Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability?
Living with a medical condition that causes you to be disabled is difficult enough without the added financial hardship of being unable to work and earn a living. Social Security disability benefits offer some much-needed financial assistance, but it can be a challenge to sort through the regulations and comply with confusing processes and procedures to determine whether or not you qualify.
The information that follows should help you get a better understanding of medical conditions and the process used by the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility for benefits. It also helps to be working with a South Texas Social Security disability lawyer at the Law Office of Kathleen L. Day. It gives you the advantage of having someone on your side with extensive knowledge and experience to guide you through the process.
Two disability programs through Social Security
Two programs administered by the Social Security Administration provide benefits to individuals who are disabled and unable to work. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, pays monthly benefits only to people who have paid Social Security taxes on income earned from working at a job or through self-employment for long enough to satisfy the work requirements to qualify for the program.
The other program paying disability benefits is Supplemental Security Income or, simply, SSI. You can qualify for SSI even if you never worked, but it is primarily intended for people with very limited financial resources and income. For instance, you cannot have resources with a total value of over $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 for a couple. Disability payments through SSI are available for children as well as for adults who are disabled or blind.
What does it mean to be “disabled” to qualify for SSD?
Whether applying for Social Security disability benefits through SSI or SSDI, you must be disabled according to the definition established by federal regulations. You are disabled when a medically determinable impairment, either physical or mental, prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The impairment or a combination of impairments must be expected to cause death or to last for at least one year.
A child applying for Social Security disability through the SSI program must meet a different definition of disabled to qualify for benefits. A child, who is younger than 18 years old, is disabled when a medically determinable physical or mental impairment causes marked and severe functional limitations that are expected to cause death or to last for at least one year.
A physical or mental impairment that is medically determinable can be proven by clinical and laboratory examinations and testing contained in a person’s medical records. A statement from the person seeking disability benefits or by a medical professional that is not supported by medical evidence is not sufficient to qualify for benefits.
Medical evidence supporting a finding that an individual is disabled includes the following:
- Examination summaries and notations of physicians and other medical professionals.
- Results of CAT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic evaluations.
- Laboratory testing, including blood tests and biopsies as ordered by treating physicians.
- Psychiatric and psychological evaluations by mental health professionals.
Whether filing an initial application for Social Security disability or appealing a denial of your claim, a disability attorney helps to ensure that medical evidence is current and supports the claim for benefits.
What medical conditions qualify for Social Security disability?
As part of its process of evaluating your medical evidence to determine if you are disabled and qualify for benefits, Social Security has a Listing of Impairments. The listing, which you may hear referred to as the “Blue Book,” identifies those physical and mental conditions that automatically qualify a person as disabled and eligible for Social Security disability benefits. A condition that is not a perfect match to one contained in the Listing of Impairments will be looked at to determine if it is close enough in similarity to a listed impairment to qualify for benefits.
The following represent only some of the categories of types of disorders and diseases included in the Listing of Impairments:
- Special senses and speech, which includes hearing, sight, or speech impairments.
- Musculoskeletal system, including spinal disorders, joint pain, and amputation.
- Cardiovascular, including heart failure, heart disease, and arrhythmia.
- Respiratory, including COPD, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.
- Cognitive and mental health, including depression, dementia, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
- Immune system, including HIV, arthritis, and lupus.
Categories specific to children are included in the listings because they must meet different criteria to warrant a determination as being disabled.
A Social Security disability lawyer can help
The knowledge, skills, and experience of a disability lawyer from the Law Office of Kathleen L. Day can make a difference in the outcome of your application for Social Security disability benefits or provide outstanding representation and advocacy when challenging a denial of benefits. They are committed to aggressively fighting for the benefits you need and deserve.