How do you know if you have a medical condition that qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? Luckily, the Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a “Listing of Medical Impairments” that claimants, doctors, and disability attorneys can use to determine eligibility. Some common conditions listed in the “Blue Book” include back pain, congestive heart failure, Crohn’s disease, depression, high blood pressure, HIV, traumatic brain injuries, schizophrenia, and other impairments.
The SSA also recognizes that some conditions are severely debilitating. To help individuals suffering from these serious conditions, it has developed the Compassionate Allowance program to expedite their claims.
Unfortunately, neither the Blue Book nor the CAL listings include every possible medical condition, illness, or disease. This does not mean you are ineligible for disability benefits – it will just be more challenging. Our Fayetteville Social Security Disability attorneys have over twenty years of experience helping disabled individuals obtain the benefits they need and deserve. Call (479) 316-0438 to discuss your disability application.
Medical Conditions That Automatically Qualify You for Disability
The SSA publishes a “Listing of Medical Impairments.” This comprehensive list is often referred to as the “Blue Book.” The listed impairments will automatically qualify an applicant for SSDI or SSI, provided specific conditions are met. In addition to a medical disability, there are income, age, and resources thresholds a claimant must meet, depending on the program.
Unfortunately, the application process could take months to years to complete. This poses a problem for people suffering from severely debilitating conditions or terminal illnesses. To address this issue, the SSA created the Compassionate Allowance program. Conditions that qualify for CAL are expedited. Instead of months or years, a claimant could have their benefits approved in a matter of weeks.
When originally implemented in 2008, the CAL listed approximately 50 specific conditions. Currently, the list of medical impairments numbers over 200. A claimant does not have to do anything special to qualify for Compassionate Allowance. When the SSA is reviewing an application, it will look to determine if the forms list a listed condition that is supported by medical evidence. If this is the case, the application will be expedited.
Some of the included conditions are listed below.
- Acute leukemia
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Stage IV breast cancer
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Pancreatic cancer
The above list is not exhaustive. If you have any questions about eligible conditions, contact our Arkansas disability attorneys.
How Does The SSA Evaluate Disabilities?
A claimant could submit an application to Social Security by telephone, mail, or online. The application and other forms request a description of the medical condition, treatment sources, and other evidence or documentation that supports the alleged disability. The SSA field office is tasked with reviewing an application for non-medical requirements, including age, marital status, employment, work credits, and Social Security coverage information. Once completed, the applications are forwarded to Disability Determination Services (DDS) for evaluation of disability. The DDS is a state agency, funded by the federal government, responsible for developing and reviewing medical evidence in order to render an initial determination on whether a claimant’s medical condition qualifies as a disability for benefits purposes.
In most cases, the DDS will want evidence from the claimant’s primary medical sources. If the information is unavailable or inconclusive, the DDS could request a consultative examination (CE) to obtain additional medical evidence. To improve your chances of approval, it is best to provide the required medical evidence. Relying on the CE would likely result in a denial.
Once the DDS has evaluated the available medical evidence, it will make the initial disability determination. After the decision is rendered, the application is returned to the appropriate field office to take steps in accordance with the decision. If the DDS believes the medical evidence was sufficient to establish a qualifying disability, the SSA will compute the benefit amount and begin disbursing monthly payments. If the DDS denies the application, the file is maintained at the field office in case the claimant appeals the decision.
How Can I Prove That I Automatically Qualify for Disability?
The only way to prove you have a qualifying condition is through extensive medical evidence. The primary reason applications are denied is because the claimant failed to provide sufficient supporting medical evidence. Even if your condition would automatically qualify, without medical documentation, your application will be denied.
Therefore, the key is to work with our Bella Vista disability lawyers and your medical providers to gather the necessary evidence and documentation. Having a diagnosis is not always sufficient to receiving benefits – you must prove that your condition prevents you from working. Having statements from your primary physician and any other specialists that are treating you could provide much-needed context to the medical evidence submitted. For example, your doctor could indicate that your condition prevents you from sitting for extended periods, standing, or grasping objects.
What if My Condition Is Not on the List or I am Denied?
While the Blue Book only contains a seemingly small number of listed disabilities, each condition has additional criteria that could be used to qualify for benefits. For instance, melanoma is listed in the Blue Book. The listing includes various types of skin cancer, different stages of the disease, and skin carcinomas that have spread into the muscle or bone. If you have any form of skin cancer, you are likely to meet enough of the listed criteria to qualify for benefits.
However, there are situations where a claimant’s condition does not match a listed disability in the Blue Book. In this case, you will have to provide enough medical evidence to prove your condition is similar to one or more listed impairments.
Other claimants suffer from multiple conditions that, singularly, do not match any listing. However, when the symptoms are combined, the result is permanently debilitating. For example, a claimant who suffers from arthritis, diabetes, and hypertension might qualify for disability benefits if the SSA agrees that the combination of symptoms of these chronic conditions is similar to another listing. Our experienced Farmington disability lawyers will assist you in building a compelling body of evidence.
Contact an Experienced Disability Lawyer Today!
Under the best of conditions, the Social Security Disability benefits process could be overwhelming. If you have a listed medical condition, you still must provide sufficient proof to the SSA. For claimants who suffer from unlisted impairments, the path to disability payments is much more difficult. Having our experienced Greenland, AR disability attorney working alongside you will increase your chances of success. Our lawyers have been handling difficult disability claims for over twenty years. To schedule a free appointment, call (479) 316-0438.
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