The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides an official definition of disability, which is crucial for determining eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. According to the SSA, disability is defined as follows: “An inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
This definition implies that an individual may be considered disabled if they are unable to perform the job duties they were previously capable of due to a condition or impairment that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
Additionally, an individual may be deemed disabled if the SSA determines that they are unable to continue performing their current job duties and cannot adjust to the demands of another line of work due to their injuries or condition.
Conditions that May Qualify for Disability Benefits
Several categories of conditions may qualify individuals for Social Security Disability benefits. These include:
- Musculoskeletal System: Disorders that affect the proper movement, use, or functioning of muscle groups, joints, or bones, hindering complex motions.
- Basic Senses and Speech: Illnesses or injuries that diminish the ability to see, feel, hear, smell, taste, or speak, significantly impeding work capabilities.
- Lungs: Conditions affecting the respiratory system, reducing the body’s ability to process oxygen and provide necessary nutrients, as verified through medical testing and evaluation.
- Heart: Disorders like chronic heart failure, high blood pressure, ventricular function issues, or circulation problems that prevent individuals from meeting job demands.
- Digestive System: Diseases or disorders that impair the body’s ability to process food adequately, such as irritable bowel syndrome or gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.
- Genitourinary System: Reproductive or urinary issues that impair kidney or organ function, leading to abnormal functionality.
- Hematological System: Persistent problems related to blood, bone marrow, liver, or spleen.
- Skin: Conditions affecting the integumentary system, especially if treatments are limited or consistently ineffective.
- Endocrine System: Hormonal or endocrine issues impacting overall health or mental function.
- Brain: Neurological diseases affecting motor function or other cognitive abilities.
Furthermore, individuals may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they have conditions falling within categories such as congenital disorders affecting multiple physical functions, neurological disorders, mental health issues, malignant neoplasms, or immune disorders.
If uncertain about eligibility based on a specific condition, individuals can refer to the Administration’s Blue Book, which provides detailed information on various illnesses and injuries.
Proving Disability and Applying for Benefits
To support a Social Security Disability application, adequate documentation must be provided to convince the Administration of the individual’s disability. This includes gathering medical records from before the onset of disability and ongoing documentation since the condition began impacting work capabilities. It can be particularly helpful to communicate with doctors to accurately convey the nature of the disability and consult vocational experts who can assess work capacity in the specific field.
Navigating the application process and demonstrating disability can be complex, and seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney can greatly enhance the chances of a successful claim. Contact our office of PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 to schedule a consultation and receive expert guidance in pursuing Social Security Disability benefits.