Posts

social security disability in Auburn AL

What Disabilities Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 37 million Americans – about 12% of the population – are classified as disabled. If you have an injury or medical condition that renders you unable to work, the financial side effects can be devastating.

Even if you have private disability insurance, those benefits could be exhausted quickly. Fortunately, you may have eligibility for benefits through the Social Security Administration’s disability insurance program, or SSDI.

Eligibility for SSDI is based on several factors. First, you must have sufficient work credits, meaning you have worked enough in the past to qualify for benefits. Next, you must have a severe condition that is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. Finally, that condition must prevent you from performing your previous work.

Which Disabilities Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

The SSA has a specific list of impairments that qualify for SSDI broken down by bodily system and function. The agency provides a separate list for children under the age of 18 and another for adults. The medical conditions that qualify for adults include:

  • Blood disorders, such as hemophilia and sickle cell disease;
  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as spinal issues and other joint and bone dysfunctions;
  • Digestive tract conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and liver disease;
  • Mental disorders, such as depression, autism, anxiety, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities;
  • Sense and speech issues, such as hearing and vision loss;
  • Genitourinary disorders, such as nephrotic syndrome and chronic kidney disease;
  • Skin conditions, such as dermatitis and severe burns;
  • Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes mellitus and thyroid gland disorders;
  • Congenital conditions, such as non-mosaic Down syndrome;
  • Cancer, such as Lymphoma, Leukemia, and Pancreatic cancer;
  • Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy;
  • Respiratory problems, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma;
  • Immune system disorders, such as kidney disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV/AIDS; and
  • Cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure.

What If My Medical Condition Is Not on the List?

You may still qualify for SSDI even if your condition is not on the SSA’s list of approved disabilities. To do this, you will need to meet certain criteria. Among these are that your condition is a “medically determinable impairment,” meaning that it has been subjected to medical and lab tests that support your diagnosis.

Next, your condition must limit your physical or mental capacity to work at your regular occupation. Specifically, the SSDI calculates and examines your residual functional capacity (RFC), which is the level of exertion that you are capable of and the restrictions applied to the types of jobs you can do. If your RFC determines that you are no longer able to perform any of your prior positions, you may qualify for SSDI.

What Documentation Do I Need to Provide?

When you apply for SSDI benefits, you will need to provide an enormous amount of documentation with your application. Since approval is based on your medical condition as well as your financial need, you will need to document both. Some of the medical evidence that you should be prepared to submit includes:

  • Physician’s examination reports
  • Treatment notes
  • Surgical reports
  • Images and copies of reports (MRI, CT Scan, X-rays)
  • Lab reports
  • Physical and occupational therapy reports
  • Mental health records

The SSA may contact your medical provider for more information about your condition if they feel they need clarification. They also have the right to order their own evaluation, called a consultative examination (CE). In most cases, if there is any question about your claim, they will simply issue a denial of benefits.

Speak with an Alabama Social Security Disability Attorney

Getting approved for SSDI is not a foregone conclusion even if you believe that you meet the requirements. Nearly two-thirds of disability applications to the SSA are rejected. Reasons for rejection vary, but you can increase your chances of acceptance by speaking with someone who has an intimate understanding of this process.

At Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, our experienced disability attorneys can help with your SSDI application and submittal or with an appeal if you are denied benefits. Contact our office now at 334-737-3718 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation to learn about how we can help you during this tough time.

 

ssd lawyer in opelika al

How to Avoid Denial for Social Security Disability Benefits

For many, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a life line, so it’s very important to file correctly, and do everything in your power to make sure you get it if you really do need the assistance.

You may think that because entitlement to Social Security benefits at a certain age is automatic, so is your eligibility for SSDI, but it is not. According to the most recent statistics, there were more than 2.1 million claims for SSDI benefits in 2017 and just over 762,000 awards. This means that over 65% of SSDI applications were denied. As if being disabled and unable to work isn’t stressful enough, you may be faced with a denial of benefits from SSDI.

If you are ready to file for benefits with SSDI, you want to give yourself the best chance of approval. Here are several of the most common reasons for SSDI claim denial:

You Make Too Much Money

When you apply for SSDI, it’s essential that you meet the qualifications of the program, and one of those relates to monthly income. When you collect SSDI, you can earn some income, but not much. The program has a limit called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), which you cannot exceed while collecting benefits. For non-blind people in 2018, that limit is $1,180 per month. Only wages count towards this limit, so income from investments would not matter in the calculation.

Insufficient Proof of Disability

To qualify for benefits under SSDI, you must have a disability that is either expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death. Some claims, such as those related to injuries from car or truck accidents, may be denied because the disability is not expected to last for 12 months or more. In addition to the condition itself, you must have limitations that prevent you from working.

One of the biggest reasons for a denial of SSDI benefits is a failure to establish disability. The documentation you include with your application should paint a clear picture of your physical or mental impairment and how your condition interferes with your ability to work.

There should be detailed medical records included with your application with information about each of the doctors that have provided treatment, hospitals or clinics that you’ve visited, medical tests you’ve received, and any medication prescribed. These records can not only document your medical condition but also show that there has been a progression that has led to your disability status.

You Are Uncooperative

Your request for benefits may be denied if you don’t provide the correct contact information or if you fail to follow up as requested. Including your correct address and phone number is a good place to start, but you will need to update this information if anything changes while you have an application pending. If SSDI requests any supplemental information, you should provide this immediately. Also, you will need to attend scheduled hearings and remain proactive with your case until it is approved. Another reason that your claim could be denied is if you fail to cooperate with prescribed medical treatment that could restore your ability to work.

Other Reasons for Denial

There are a few other reasons that your SSDI claim could be denied, some that may be beyond your control once it’s time to apply for benefits. If you’ve been convicted of certain crimes or your disability is the result of a criminal act or incarceration, you may be denied benefits. Also, the Social Security Administration may deny benefits to someone whose alcoholism or drug addiction is a contributing factor in their disability.

Speak with Qualified Social Security Disability Attorney

Unfortunately, the SSDI claims process is anything but straightforward. Even if you are not approved for benefits on the first try, it’s important that you speak with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who can walk you through the process and handle your request for reconsideration. Statistics show that more than 60% of these denied claims are later approved by an administrative law judge (ALJ) when the claimant has representation.

At the Alsobrook Jackson Law Firm, we understand the Social Security Disability process and can strengthen your case. Our knowledgeable disability attorney can help with your initial SSDI filing or represent you in an appeal. Contact our office today at 334.737.3718 or online to schedule a free consultation.