Types of SSD Injuries and Conditions
If you have a disability that prevents you from working, you may be wondering whether your disability is one of the injuries or conditions that could qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. SSD applications can be complex and confusing, so you should talk to an experienced SSD attorney for advice before you get started.
At the Disability Law Firm, we help disabled individuals seek the benefits they need because they cannot work. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you find thoughtful solutions to your legal issues.
What Medical Conditions Could Qualify for Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of mental and physical medical conditions that it considers disabling. It is known as the “Blue Book.” The current listing of disabling conditions for adult SSD applicants includes conditions such as:
- Musculoskeletal problems such as back, joint, and soft tissue conditions
- Sense and speech issues such as blindness or hearing loss
- Respiratory illnesses such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Cardiovascular conditions such as coronary artery disease
- Digestive tract conditions such as liver disease
- Kidney and genitourinary disorders such as prostate disease or renal failure
- Blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia
- Skin conditions such as severe burn injuries or dermatitis
- Neurological disorders such as epilepsy or cerebral palsy
- Mental disorders such as autism, clinical depression, or anxiety
- Immune system disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV/AIDS
- Cancers and certain syndromes, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome
In addition to establishing that you have a listed condition, you must also demonstrate that it prevents you from working to collect SSD benefits. An SSD lawyer can help you show the severity of your condition and how it affects your ability to earn a living.
If I Have a Qualifying Ailment, Can I Get SSD Benefits?
Just because you have a qualifying disability listed in the SSA’s Blue Book does not necessarily mean you are automatically entitled to SSD benefits. Automatic disability approval only applies to conditions included on the SSA’s list of Compassionate Allowances. A few examples include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease
- The need for organ transplants, such as kidney transplants
- Certain cancers, such as thyroid cancer, esophageal cancer, and small-cell carcinoma in the prostate, ovaries, bladder, or lungs
Regardless of whether you qualify for automatic SSD approval, you will need to have a licensed physician diagnose your condition to apply for benefits. If your condition is not on the Compassionate Allowances list, the SSA will likely need more information in addition to your diagnosis to make sure your disability meets specific criteria, such as physical or cognitive limitations.
Generally speaking, applicants must have a disability that is expected to last for a year or longer or result in death. The specific medical criteria can be complicated and difficult to understand, however, so it is best to work with a knowledgeable SSD lawyer to file your application.
Blindness as a Disability
Individuals who are completely blind or suffer significant vision loss may be unable to work and therefore likely qualify for SSD benefits. There are special provisions in place for legally blind individuals who apply for SSD.
For example, blind individuals can receive SSD benefits even if they are working, as long as they do not earn more than a certain amount. In 2021, blind applicants could still obtain SSD benefits even if they work and earn up to a maximum of $2,190 per month. For non-blind disabled workers, this earnings limit was significantly lower at $1,310 per month.
Blind individuals who are currently working but not yet receiving SSD benefits are entitled to apply for a “disability freeze” if they plan to apply for benefits in the future. A disability freeze allows blind workers to exclude lower-earning years from their benefits calculations, which are based on average lifetime earnings if their lower wages were a direct result of their blindness. That can result in higher benefit payments once the individual applies.
What Medical Evidence Do I Need to Qualify?
Depending on your medical disability and related circumstances, you may need to provide the following types of medical evidence to qualify for SSD benefits:
- Diagnostic test results – This includes things like clinical exam results, laboratory findings, X-rays, and MRI scans.
- Up-to-date medical records – The SSA prefers records that are as recent as possible. Conditions that develop rapidly may require more up-to-date records than others. The documents should show evidence of your disability and the limitations you experience as a result.
- Prescribed treatment plans – The SSA will want to know about any treatment plans your doctor prescribed, how you have responded to those treatments so far, and your long-term prognosis.
- Statements from medical providers – It can be helpful to include a message from your medical provider containing their professional opinion regarding what you can and cannot do with your condition.
- Consultative exam results – If the SSA decides it needs additional information, it may ask you to sit for a routine consultative exam with an approved doctor.
How Do You Apply for Disability Benefits in Dade City?
There are three ways you can apply for disability benefits in Dade City:
- Go online – You can get your application started by visiting the SSA’s website. If you choose to apply online, you can begin your application at any time or even save your application to return to later before you submit it.
- Call the SSA – You can call the SSA’s toll-free customer service line at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to have a representative help you apply for benefits over the phone.
- Apply in person – You can visit a local Social Security field office to have a representative help you apply for benefits in person. The Dade City field office is located at 36630 Adair Road, Dade City, FL 33525.
Working with an experienced attorney who can prepare and file your application can significantly improve the likelihood of approval.
Contact Our Experienced Dade City SSD Lawyers Today
When you are ready for answers about your SSD benefits case, contact the trusted Dade City SSD lawyer at the Disability Law Firm. We are prepared to evaluate your condition and help you understand whether you might qualify for benefits in a free initial case review.