If you have a physical disability that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for monthly Social Security disability benefits. Below, we discuss a few common types of physical disabilities that merit Social Security disability benefits, and some of the basic criteria for qualifying for Social Security for a physical disability in Raleigh.
The application process can be very complex, the requirements are stiff, and it can be quite challenging to win disability benefits. Consider having a lawyer assist you with your claim and help you handle any hurdles that arise during the process. For a disability lawyer in Raleigh with a long track record of helping those with physical disabilities secure benefits, call Lunn and Forro, PLLC and request a free consult: 888-966-6566.
How does the SSA define a disability?
To qualify for disability benefits, you first need to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disabled. The SSA provides: “To meet our definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s):
- That is expected to result in death, or
- That has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.”
Substantial gainful activity simply means that you are able to earn a certain amount of money each month. In 2016, if your income exceeds $1,130, the SSA will consider you engaged in SGA and therefore not disabled.
What types of physical conditions does the SSA consider disabling?
In the Blue Book, the SSA keeps a long list of impairments that it accepts as disabling when claimants can meet certain severity criteria. The impairments are categorized by the body system they pertain to. All but one of the 14 sections of listings are for physical impairments.
There are various types of physical impairments that can qualify someone as disabled. Below are just a few examples:
- Chronic heart failure
- Sickle cell anemia
- Chronic respiratory disorders
- Chronic liver disease
- Hearing loss
What criteria must I meet to qualify with a physical disability?
There are two ways to qualify as disabled for Social Security purposes. One way is to meet the criteria under a listing in the Blue Book. For instance, if you have epilepsy, the guidelines stipulate that you are disabled if, despite adherence to prescribed treatment, you have documented proof of at least one of the following:
- Generalized tonic-clonic seizures that have occurred at least once a month for at least three consecutive months.
- Dyscognitive seizures that have occurred at least once a week for at least three consecutive months.
- Generalized tonic-clonic seizures that have occurred at least once every two months for at least four consecutive months, and a marked limitation of physical functioning; understanding, remembering, or applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or adapting or managing oneself.
- Dyscognitive seizures that have occurred at least once every two weeks for at least three consecutive months, and a marked limitation in one of the aforementioned areas.
The second way to qualify as disabled (if your physical disability does not meet a listing), is to prove to the SSA that your condition prevents you from working.
The SSA will assess your medical records and other evidence and assign you an RFC (residual functional capacity) rating. Your RFC rating indicates what your limitations are and what types of basic physical functions (e.g., walking, lifting, pushing, pulling, etc.) you still have despite your impairment.
If the SSA finds that, in light of your physical condition, age, education, and job training, there is no work that you can do, it will deem you disabled.
How does the SSA evaluate my disability?
Medical evidence is the crux of a physical disability claim. The SSA will want to review all your medical records related to your condition, including:
- Records from your family physicians, specialists, hospitals, and home health care
- Diagnostic tests that prove your condition, such as blood work, imaging tests, and physical evaluations
- A list of treatments you have tried and are currently undergoing for your condition and how you have responded to them
- Your doctors’ input on the ways your condition is causing limitations
- Your prognosis
To win disability benefits, your medical evidence needs to be comprehensive, detailed, and convincing. The SSA denies many applications because applicants failed to submit adequate proof. We can help you ensure your evidence provides an accurate representation of your limitations and need for benefits.
Are there other requirements to collect disability benefits?
In addition to proving to the SSA that you have a physical condition or combination of conditions that either meets a listing or otherwise prevents you from working for a year or longer, you also must meet certain work history or financial requirements. The specific requirements depend on which benefit you are applying for and your age.
Those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will need to demonstrate that their income and assets are below a certain amount. Those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits must have a certain amount of recent work credits on their record.
Let our disability lawyer in Raleigh help you obtain the benefits you need.
Our team at Lunn and Forro, PLLC is passionate about helping those living with physical and mental disabilities in Raleigh to secure the benefits they need. Our case history speaks for itself. And we provide services on a contingency basis, which means we do not charge you unless you recover benefits.
We invite you to call our firm today and schedule a consultation to learn about your rights and how we may be of service to you: 888-966-6566.