An injury or illness that leaves you unable to work for at least one year is a disability that can qualify you for Social Security disability benefits – so long as other qualifying criteria are met. Not any injury or illness, however, will qualify you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has its own so-called blue book, more properly known as an impairment listing manual, which lists mental and physical impairments that will automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Here, Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC provides an overview of what these common injuries, illnesses, or impairments are as well as an overview of the evidence you may need to prove it. If you have questions about your own impairment and if you may qualify for Social Security disability, contact Lloyd King at 1-800-265-1923 to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Medical Conditions Qualify a Person for SSDI benefits and SSI payments?
The SSA regularly updates its impairment listing manual, which identifies impairments in major body systems. Impairments listed for 2020 include a wide range of conditions, disorders, and illnesses. Below is a summary of the mental and physical impairments that could qualify you for disability.
- Cardiovascular System, e.g., heart failure, coronary artery disease
- Digestive System, e.g., liver disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Endocrine Disorder, e.g., hormonal imbalance
- Genitourinary Problems, e.g., renal dysfunction, chronic renal disease
- Hematological Disorders, e.g., chronic anemia, aplastic anemia, sickle cell disease, chronic thrombocytopenia, hereditary telangiectasia, coagulation defects, myelofibrosis, chronic granulocytopenia
- Immune System, e.g., Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Mental Disorders, e.g., depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Musculoskeletal System, e.g., infectious, inflammatory, or degenerative processes, traumatic accidents, neoplastic, vascular, or toxic/metabolic diseases
- Neurological Disorders, e.g., epilepsy, brain tumors, cerebral palsy, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Respiratory System, e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Skin Disorders, e.g., Ichthyosis, bulls diseases, dermatitis, genetic photosensitivity disorders, burns
- Special Senses and Speech, e.g., blindness, speech impairment
- Multiple Body Systems, e.g., non-mosaic Down syndrome
These medical conditions can be hereditary or congenital or acquired through pathologic processes.
There are two specific things to keep in mind with the above list:
- You could have one of the above impairments and still not qualify. Your condition must render you disabled, meaning you cannot work and earn sufficient income because of a medically verifiable condition. So, on the one hand, you may have a qualifying impairment. On the other hand, however, your impairment may not prevent you from working.
- You may also not have one of the above impairments or not have an impairment listed in the blue book but still qualify. The SSA will review your case, and if it finds either of the following, then you could qualify:
- the health condition is medically equivalent to criteria listed in the blue book; or
- a medical condition not listed in the book but which is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment severe enough to make it impossible to work a full-time job.
As you can see, identifying a medical condition as one that qualifies as a disability can be a tricky process. A knowledgeable, experienced Social Security disability benefits attorney can help you by explaining your medical conditions in terms of the rules and regulations and ensuring that you get the documentation necessary to sufficiently and accurately prove it.
What Medical Evidence Must Be Provided to Prove Your Impairment?
A medically determinable physical or mental impairment is a medical condition (for the purposes of disability benefits) that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. Medical evidence required in your case will be determined by the impairment and by the medically acceptable procedures to determine your impairment. So, one person may have x-rays and blood work while another person may not have x-rays but blood work and other tests.
Medical records are the primary source of evidence, but these medical records must be:
- timely (recent)
- accurate, and
Further, not all medical records will be considered by the Social Security Administration. The SSA will consider medical records and documents provided by:
- licensed physicians
- licensed psychologists
- licensed or certified speech therapists
- licensed optometrists
- licensed podiatrists
- health facilities
- professional clinics.
The SSA will not consider medical records and documents provided by:
- chiropractors (except x-rays)
- massage therapists
- other "new age" professionals.
Contact a Social Security Disability Benefits Attorney in North Carolina Today
If you have a disability that prevents you from working, contact Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC today for a free initial consultation. Lloyd King represents clients throughout North Carolina and is ready to answer your questions about your disability and the disability claims process.