If you are suffering from a physical or mental condition that makes it impossible to work, it is probably evident to you and those around you. However, if you want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you will have to prove your impairment makes it impossible to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a stringent definition of what is considered an eligible disability. Proving your condition merits benefits requires navigating complex rules and extensive medical documentation. Below, Ken Kieklak, an experienced Arkansas disability benefits attorney, discusses what you need to prove your medical condition is eligible for benefits.
How the SSA Defines Disability in Arkansas
Before getting into the details on how you prove you have a qualifying disability for SSDI, it is important to understand how the SSA defines disability. For SSDI, disability is strictly defined. An individual with a partial or temporary disability is not eligible for SSDI. To qualify as a disability under the SSA definition, a person must be suffering from a physical or mental condition that prohibits them from doing the work, or performing the duties, they were capable of before the disability. Next, the medical condition must prohibit any other type of work. Finally, the condition must be expected to last at least 12 months or is anticipated to end in death.
The SSA further defines work as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). SGA is an income threshold. Therefore, as of 2021, a non-blind person could not earn more than $ 1,276 and be considered disabled under the SSA’s criteria.
Proving You Have a Medical Condition That Qualifies as a Disability Under the SSA in Arkansas
Knowing what the SSA considers a disability is simply the first step. Now you must prove that your medical condition qualifies. Nearly 70 percent of initial SSDI claims are denied. One of the primary reasons why claims are denied is because the applicant failed to provide sufficient medical evidence. This is where an experienced Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney helps. Our office will work with you to complete your application and gather the applicable medical documentation.
Gather Your Medical History
It is essential to develop your medication history to show the impact of your medical condition. Providing detailed medical records from the onset of your disability will help prove that your disability qualifies under the SSA’s definition. Part of the difficulty in determining the date your disability began. This is especially challenging if you have an impairing mental condition. Our Arkansas attorney for disability case referrals will work closely with your doctors, employer, and family to help determine when your medical condition started to impact your ability to work.
Your Physicians’ Opinions
If you are being treated for a serious physical or mental condition, you are likely seeing several different doctors and specialists. The expert opinions of these medical professionals serve as compelling and persuasive evidence. However, the statements that your treating physicians give must be comprehensive and detailed. A letter that simply states, “in my opinion the patient is disabled” is not sufficient evidence of your condition. Your doctors should speak to your medical history, their diagnosis, diagnostic test results, and an explanation of how your disability prohibits you from working. If you are suffering from chronic back pain, your doctor should discuss the types of treatment you received and how your physical condition impacts your ability to perform activities that are required to fulfill your duties. For instance, the medical statement would indicate that you cannot sit for long periods, stand, or lift heavy objects. If you see multiple doctors, you should have a medical statement from each one.
Document Following Through With Medical Treatments
Your medical condition must be persistent and unable to be improved to qualify for SSDI. If you are not following through with your doctor’s orders, such as missing appointments or failing to take medication, you are jeopardizing your ability to receive benefits. You need to be actively working to improve your condition if possible. If the SSA believes that you would be able to work if you did the required physical therapy or took the necessary drug regimen, your claim will likely be denied.
Blue Book Conditions
The SSA has a list of impairments that are so disabling that benefits could be granted if the symptoms are severe. Some of the conditions listed include asthma, heart disease, arthritis, and others. Our Arkansas disability appeals attorney will review the full list with you to see if your condition is included. You will still have to provide medical documentation to demonstrate that your condition is severe enough to warrant disability benefits.
Non-Medical Evidence Required to Prove a Disability in Arkansas
Everything we have discussed so far has revolved around medical documentation. However, you can also provide evidence that is not related directly to your medical treatment. For instance, you should keep a journal of how your condition is impacting your daily activities. While you should not exaggerate your condition, you should emphasize how your disability affects your ability to perform ordinary tasks. If our Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyer represents you at a hearing, you will have to describe how your condition has impaired your ability to sit, walk, and perform other tasks. A detailed journal will help you relate specific instances that occurred over an extended period.
Our office might have you meet with a vocational expert. Their expert opinion could help demonstrate how your impairment affects your ability to work. In addition to an expert, your co-workers, supervisor, and family members could also provide compelling evidence of how your condition affects your ability to perform necessary tasks.
Our Rogers, AR disability attorney will assist you in gathering this information and presenting a comprehensive application. If there are any inconsistencies in the documentation submitted, your claim could be denied. It is also important to state again that under no circumstances should you exaggerate your condition. Let the evidence speak to the severity of your condition.
Contact Our Arkansas Social Security Attorney if You Are Applying for Benefits
Applying for SSDI benefits is intimidating and you fail to provide sufficient proof of your medical condition, your claim will be denied. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, has been representing individuals filing for initial claims or appealing denied claims for over 20 years. If you are in the beginning process of filing a claim or if your claim was denied, call our Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyer to discuss your case. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free appointment.