The Social Security Administration has two programs offering benefits in the form of monthly payments for people unable to work because of a disability. Each of them, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, have similar definitions to evaluate whether or not you are disabled and eligible for benefits.
The disability advocates at London Disability have years of experience assisting people with issues related to claims for Social Security disability. A common source of concern for people has to do with knowing how Social Security determines if a medical condition qualifies for SSD.
Definition of disability to qualify for SSD
Federal law defines what qualifies as a disability for SSDI and SSI. An adult applying for benefits through SSDI and SSI is considered to be disabled when a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments makes them unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity. The impairment or impairments must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or be expected to cause the death of the person.
A different definition applies to claims for disability benefits for a child through SSI. A child, defined by the law as someone younger than 18 years of age, is disabled when a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments causes the child to have marked and severe functional limitations, which last or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
Proving the existence of a medical condition
There must be sufficient medical evidence proving the presence of a medical condition to be medically determinable within the definition of disability used to evaluate claims for SSD. Complaints from the claimant about symptoms of a medical condition are insufficient on their own to prove they exist and must be supported by clinical, laboratory, and diagnostic findings from health care professionals.
To ensure that your medical records prove the existence of a medical condition and support a claim for SSD, you need to be seen by medical providers and cooperate with them by having the tests they recommend and following the course of treatment, they propose for you. The presence of the following in your medical records can help your claim for benefits:
- A). Notes of your doctor’s findings and impressions made during physical examinations.
- B). MRIs, CAT scans, and other diagnostic tests.
- C). Results of blood tests, biopsies, and other laboratory testing ordered by physicians.
- D). Evaluations from psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed mental health professionals.
When working with an SSD advocate at London Disability, the information contained in your medical records will be reviewed to ensure that accurate information about your medical condition appearing on your application for benefits is supported by the medical evidence.
Medical conditions for SSD
Social Security uses an evaluation process to determine if your disability meets the definition to qualify for SSD, including whether it is severe enough to cause significant limits on your ability to lift, stand, walk, sit or engage in other basic activities related to work. One method used by Social Security is its list of medical impairments.
The Listing of Impairments includes medical conditions for each system of the body along with the criteria claimants must meet for each to qualify for SSD. For example, under the general heading of musculoskeletal disorders, the listing includes the following medical conditions:
- A). Disorders of the spine.
- B). Disorders of the upper and lower extremities.
- C). Soft tissue injuries, including burns.
- D). Curvatures of the spine.
Headings exist for other systems of the body and medical conditions related to them along with the criteria required to prove each one. Included with each condition are the criteria you must meet to be disabled and qualify for SSD. This information helps your disability advocate to know what information to file to support your claim for benefits. Meeting the criteria for a particular condition establishes the existence of a disabling condition meeting the requirements of the SSD definition of disability.
The fact that you have a medical condition that does not meet the criteria for the listed condition, or you have a condition that does not appear on the list, does not preclude approval for SSD. You may be approved if your disability advocate proves that your medical condition is similar to one that is listed or that your condition sufficiently affects your ability to function to meet the disability definition under federal law.
How a knowledgeable SSD advocate helps
An experienced SSD advocate at London Disability gives you someone with knowledge of the SSD regulations and procedures to ensure that your application for benefits or appeal of a denied claim is complete, accurate, and supported by available medical resources. Contact us today for a free consultation where you can get all of your questions about medical conditions and SSD benefits answered.