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.