Qualifying for SSD Benefits

In order to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits , a claimant must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of “disability” – but what exactly does that mean? The SSA’s definition of “disability” is different than the definition used by other government programs and is based on a claimant’s inability to work.

When a claimant applies for disability benefits, the SSA decides whether the claimant’s medical condition is severe enough to render the person disabled and qualify him or her for benefits. As a result, it is beneficial for potential claimants to understand how the SSA decides if a claimant is disabled under the law and what medical conditions qualify a claimant for SSSD benefits.

How the SSA determines if you are disabled

The SSA evaluates the medical eligibility of claimants who apply for disability benefits by determining whether a claimant is disabled.

The SSA considers a claimant to be “disabled” if the following are true:

  1. The claimant cannot do the work he or she did before
  2. The claimant cannot adjust to other work as a result of a medical condition
  3. The claimant’s disability has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least one year or result in the claimant’s death.

The SSA uses an objective system when reviewing applications to determine if a claimant meets its disability qualifications

Specifically, the SSA follows a step-by-step process that includes asking five questions:

  1. Is the claimant working?
  2. Is the claimant’s alleged medical condition severe?
  3. Is the claimant’s condition found in the SSA’s list of disabling conditions?
  4. Can the claimant do work he or she did previously?
  5. Can the claimant can do any other type of work instead?

To meet the SSA’s disability qualifications a claimant must:

  1. Earn equal to or less than $1,070 a month if he or she is still working.
  2. Have a medical condition that interferes with the claimant’s basic work-related activities.
  3. Have a condition that is on the SSA’s list of severe medical conditions or have an unlisted condition that is of equal severity to one on the list.
  4. Have a condition that interferes with the claimant’s ability to do work he or she was once able to do, and not be able to adjust to other types of work.

Medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits

Disability examiners use a list of qualifying medical conditions known as the “Blue Book” to determine if a claimant meets the SSA’s definition of disability. The medical conditions listed in the Blue Book are conditions that the SSA believes are so severe that they automatically qualify claimants for disability benefits.

Along these lines, if a claimant’s medical condition is listed in the Blue Book, the claimant is generally considered to meet the SSA’s disability qualifications and is eligible for disability benefits.

Medical conditions in the Blue Book are divided into sections relating to each of the major body systems and include musculoskeletal problems, sense and speech issues, respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular conditions, digestive tract problems, neurological disorders, blood disorders, mental disorders, and immune system disorders. Some common conditions listed in the Blue Book include asthma, heart disease, anxiety disorders, and inflammatory arthritis.

For more information on specific conditions and a full list of qualifying adult impairments, see the SSA’s Listings of Impairments.

Not all medical conditions are listed in the Blue Book. However, if a claimant’s medical condition is not included, the claimant may still be eligible for disability benefits under other SSA guidelines. Since the Blue Book only includes medical conditions considered to be automatically disabling, a claimant with an unlisted condition may still qualify for disability benefits if it is proven that the claimant’s medical condition limits his or her functioning so as to prevent the claimant from working.

The review process for an adult with an unlisted condition or disorder involves receiving a medical-vocation allowance, which is an evaluation of the claimant’s ability to work. As part of this procedure, the SSA evaluates the claimant’s medical records and prepares a residual function capacity assessment that examines the claimant’s remaining abilities and indicates how much work he or she is capable of performing. Ultimately, if a claimant with an unlisted condition cannot return to performing past job duties and is incapable of performing other less demanding work due to his or her medical condition, the SSA will find the claimant meets its disability qualifications.

If you want to know more about appealing a denied social security/disability case contact Neil H. Good online or call toll-free#(847) 577-4476 to schedule your free case evaluation to discuss your specific health condition and your SSDI eligibility.