There is an extensive list of impairments that qualify for SSD benefits. However, there are several key steps that you must follow to check to see if you qualify for those benefits as well. Being diagnosed with a qualifying impairment plays a major role in the process, but it is not the only role.
An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer at Ascend Disability can help you navigate the complicated process and obtain the benefits you deserve. Our firm represents clients nationwide with offices in Fort Worth and New Orleans.
Qualifying Disabilities for SSD Benefits
Below is a list of several categories that can automatically qualify you as a recipient of disability benefits if all other conditions are met:
- Cardiovascular (ex: coronary artery disease & heart failure)
- Musculoskeletal (ex: joint & back injuries)
- Neurological (ex: cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
- Respiratory (ex: cystic fibrosis, COPD, asthma)
- Mental (ex: anxiety, depression, intellectual disorder, autism)
- Senses & Speech (ex: hearing & vision loss)
- Immune System (ex: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS)
- Skin (ex: burns, dermatitis)
- Digestive Tract (ex: IBD, liver disease)
- Miscellaneous Syndromes (ex: Marfan Syndrome, Sjogren’s Syndrome)
Other categories are also included even though they cover more general disorders and diseases – such as genitourinary issues, kidney disease, blood disorders, and cancer.
However, as mentioned, simply being diagnosed with either of these medical conditions does not mean that you will automatically receive disability benefits. There are other requirements and conditions to consider.
Diagnosis and Documentation From a Doctor Are Crucial
The first step to seeing if your disability qualifies for SSD benefits is to get a confirmed diagnosis from a doctor or other licensed healthcare professional – depending on your condition. There are some cases where all you need is a confirmed diagnosis to be automatically approved for disability benefits – such as severe types of cancer, organ transplants, and ALS.
For other conditions, though, the Social Security Administration will require more documentation to prove the extent of your disability. For instance, they will look for medical test results and X-ray images related to the impairment. Regarding the documentation, you should create a paper trail of everything related to the cognitive and physical limitations directly connected to your impairment.
Should I Wait for the SSA to Conduct a Medical Exam?
Some may assume that getting documentation from their own doctor is not needed since the SSA will conduct their own research and examinations. It is true that the SSA will likely pay the expense associated with a consultative exam for you. The downside is that this causes an unnecessary delay that will force you to wait even longer before you receive your first payment.
The key is to make sure that this documentation (including medical records, diagnosis paperwork, and test results) is already completed and accessible before you submit your application.
What If I Do Not Regularly See a Doctor?
If you only see a doctor when there is an emergency, then you need to adjust your mindset and approach to medical care. Your goal should be to establish an extensive medical record that provides solid documentation to support your disability claim. Keep in mind that this paper trail needs to reference your limitations, official diagnosis, test results, prescribed medications, and treatment protocol.
After you have completed a few visits and your doctor has become familiar with your case, he or she should be able to explain your limitations and long-term prospects for recovery in writing. Do not apply for the SSD benefits until you have a well-established and well-documented paper trail that includes this updated information.
Does the SSA Only Consider the Impairments Listed?
The list of qualifying disabilities and impairments is extensive, but it is not exhaustive. If your disability or impairment is not listed, it is still possible for you to qualify for SSD benefits. The key factor is that your condition must limit your daily function to the point where you are unable to work.
The SSA will closely examine and consider how your impaired condition affects your daily life, routine activities, and overall work abilities. Based on this information, they will determine if there is at least one type of job that you could safely perform without any danger to yourself or others.
This determination is based on your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) – which is assessed by examining how much you can lift and carry on your own without assistance in addition to how long you can walk and/or stand.
Review Your Documentation Before Applying for Benefits
The fact that you should review your documentation before submitting an application cannot be stressed enough. Even if you invested in an attorney to handle your claim, this will likely still be one of the best pieces of advice that they will offer. Ensure that you have a documented history of the clinics, hospitals, doctors, and other licensed healthcare professionals you have visited within the past five years.
You will also need an accurate and updated employment history as well since your income will play a role in the calculation of your benefit payment amount.
Contact Our Social Security Disability Lawyers for Help
At Ascend Disability, we have a team of experienced disability lawyers and case managers who understand how to navigate the frustrating bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration. Our team has helped thousands of clients.