What Medical Disabilities Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Suffering an illness or injury that results in disability has numerous consequences, including medical expenses, an inability to work and earn an income, and the psychological toll that accompanies pain, physical limitations, and fear about one’s financial future. While living with a medical disability can be trying to say the least, one thing that can provide comfort and support in a time of need is Social Security disability benefits.
What Is Social Security Disability?
There are two types of Social Security disability programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The first provides monthly compensation for those who are disabled and of limited income and resources; the second provides monthly benefits for those who are disabled, but who have paid into Social Security during their working years and therefore have both a qualifying disability and earned work credits.
What Types of Medical Disabilities Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Regardless of whether a person is applying for SSI or SSDI benefits, they must have a qualifying disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairments…” The definition continues to read that such impairment must have lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months or result in death.
The SSA maintains a list of impairments/medical conditions that, if a person suffers from them, automatically meet the above definition of disability. This list is extensive, containing conditions ranging from musculoskeletal disorders to digestive system disorders to neurological disorders and many more.
What If I Suffer from a Medical Disability that’s Not Listed by the SSA?
While the number of medical conditions that are found on the SSA’s listing of impairments is extensive, it is not exclusive. Many people suffer from debilitating medical conditions that are not listed. If this is the case for you, you are not automatically excluded from receiving SSA disability benefits; instead, you will need to follow a specific process set forth by the SSA for disability determination. This process seeks to assess:
- Whether or not you can do work that you did before;
- Whether or not you can adjust to other work because of your medical condition; and
- Whether or not your disabling condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
If the SSA concludes that you cannot do work that you previously did, cannot adjust to other work as a result of your condition, and that your condition will be impairing for at least 12 months, then you will meet the eligibility requirements for a qualifying disability.
What Else Is Necessary to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
Unfortunately, proving that you suffer from a medical disability is just one of the many things that the Social Security Administration looks at when determining whether or not you are eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits. In addition to establishing proof of your disability, you will also need to prove that:
- You have earned enough work credits during your working years; or
- You are blind or vision-impaired; or
- You are of limited income and resources.
In some cases, a person may qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits simultaneously.
Hire a Skilled Disability Benefits Lawyer in Alabama
Suffering from a medical condition that prevents you from working can put a major physical, emotional, and financial strain on sufferers and their loved ones. If you are in need of disability benefits in order to support yourself and your family, attempting to navigate the process of filing a claim on your own can be trying, especially because the SSA denies thousands of disability benefit claims every year.
To improve the chances of your claim for disability benefits being approved, we strongly recommend working with a skilled Alabama disability benefits lawyer. At Walton Law, LLC, we can review your case for free help determine what will be needed to qualify for benefits. And if you have already been denied benefits, we can provide assistance with the appeals process. Call our office today at 251-455-5819 or send us a message through our online contact form.