What Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) in Arkansas?

For many people in Arkansas, Social Security Disability benefits a vital part of their monthly income. However, many people are unaware that their condition or impairment makes them eligible for disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a resource, known as the Blue Book, that lists the medical conditions that qualify for disability.

Knowing you have an eligible condition is only part of the process. You still have to prove to the SSA that your condition meets the listed requirements. This is true whether you are applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Our Fayetteville disability lawyers have been representing people with medical impairments or medical disabilities for decades. Our office will help you gather medical evidence, complete an application, or file an appeal. Call (479) 316-0438 to see what we can do for you.

Do I Need a Work History to Qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) in Arkansas?

One way to think about SSDI is as an ordinary insurance policy. You pay monthly premiums through FICA taxes deducted from your paycheck. If you become disabled or have a medical condition that makes it impossible to work, you are entitled to monthly financial benefits under the insurance policy. Because you have to pay into the system, you need a work history to qualify for SSDI.

The SSA requires an SSDI applicant to have worked a certain number of years, paying into Social Security taxes, to qualify for benefits. An individual can earn up to four “work credits” per year. To max out your work credits in 2022, you will have to earn at least $6,400. Typically, an applicant must have at least 20 credits earned within the past ten years. However, the amount does vary depending on the applicant’s age.

Do I qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Unlike SSDI, you do not have to have a work history to qualify for SSI. Because SSI is a needs-based program, the SSA will look at an applicant’s income and resources to determine eligibility. If you are single, your total resources and assets cannot exceed $2,000. The SSA defines assets and resources as any property that could be used for food or shelter. Basically, everything a person owns, property, savings accounts, or other valuables, are resources. There are some notable exceptions, such as your home or vehicle. For a married couple, the threshold increases to $3,000.

For both SSDI and SSI, you still must suffer from a medical condition or impairment that prevents you from earning a living.

What is the SSA’s 5-Step Disability Determination?

Whether you apply for SSI or SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration will make a disability determination to see if you are eligible. The SSA employs a 5-step process to determine if an adult applicant qualifies.

Step One: Are You Working

If you are working, you might not be eligible for disability benefits. The SSA will determine if you are engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you make more than $1,350 (or $2,260 for blind applicants), you will not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

Step Two: Do You Have a Severe Medical Condition

An SSA claims examiner will evaluate your application to determine if your impairment or medical condition interferes with your ability to perform basic activities, such as standing, walking, sitting, lifting, or speaking. If the medical evidence fails to establish this, your claim will be denied.

Step Three: Is Your Medical Condition Listed in the SSA’s “Blue Book?”

The Social Security Administration publishes a Listing of Impairments commonly referred to as the “Blue Book.” This listing contains over 100 physical and mental conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Along with the listed conditions are the criteria that must be met to prove that your impairment qualifies. When someone has a severe condition that is not listed, our Arkansas disability lawyers will try to show that it meets the requirements of one or more other listed conditions.

Step Four: Can You do Other Relevant Past Work?

If your medical condition does not meet a published listing, the claims examiner will evaluate whether your impairment prohibits you from performing the tasks associated with past work.

Step Five: Can You Do Any Type of Work?

If the claims examiner determines that your medical condition prohibits engaging in any past work, they will consider if your impairment prohibits all other types of work. When making this determination, the claims examiner will look at your medical condition, age, education, experience, and what transferable skills you might have. If it is determined that you could adjust to another form of employment, your claim will be denied.

What Qualifies as a Severe Impairment?

A severe impairment, as defined by the Social Security Administration, is an impairment or a combination of conditions that significantly limit a person’s physical or mental abilities. These limitations substantially interfere with the person’s ability to perform basic work-related tasks. If a medical condition or impairment does not significantly limit the person’s ability to work, it is not a severe impairment according to the SSA. If you do not suffer from a severe impairment, you will not be eligible for disability benefits.

Listed Conditions that Qualify for Disability Benefits

The SSA maintains a published list of medical conditions that are almost considered automatically disabling. This list of impairments is often called the “Blue Book.” Each listing describes the condition, symptoms, and requirements a person must meet to qualify for the specific condition. Below is a list of the included disorders and impairments that could qualify you for SSDI or SSI benefits.

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular System Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders
  • Digestive System Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Genitourinary Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Immune System Disorders
  • Mental Disorders
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Special Senses And Speech

Arkansas Disability Lawyers Helping People With Severe Medical Impairments

To learn more about Social Security Disability benefits or the process, call (479) 316-0438. Our experienced Bentonville Social Security Disability lawyers are available to assist you in all aspects of the application process.