There are many injuries or conditions which can qualify a person for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The general categories list both physical disabilities and mental disabilities. Generally speaking, the categories for disabilities are as follows:
1. Musculoskeletal System
2. Special Senses and Speech
3. Respiratory System
4. Cardiovascular System
5. Digestive System
6. Genitourinary Impairments
7. Hematological Disorders
8. Skin Disorders
9. Endocrine Disorders
10. Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
12. Mental Disorders
13. Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
14. Immune System Disorders
Rules are different for both adults and children. The adult conditions pertain to individuals 18 and over. No matter what the case, Social Security uses a five-step evaluation process to determine disability regardless of the injury or physical or mental condition.These basically deal with whether the person has been employed or whether their condition was a serious condition.
One is not going to get Social Security Disability benefits, except in rare circumstances, if they are still employed and earning Substantial Gainful Income and their condition is not severe.
Therefore, the first two steps of the evaluation process are usually not a major consideration in determining a claim based upon Social Security Disability injuries, medical condition or mental health status.
The guideline also refers to “listing of impairments.” “Listing of Impairments” actually list a specific condition which might allow a person to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if their condition either meets or is the medical equivalent of a “listed” condition. Normally, the “Listing of Impairments” are very specific and require very specific medical findings and more importantly, specific medical documentation in support of those findings in order to meet or equal a “listing.”
Representing disability claimants at Drummond Disability, we use every effort to match the condition of a claimant, if at all possible, to a specific “Listing of Impairment” to allow for a prompt award of benefits, ideally without having to go through a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. We have developed an entire book of forms which address most of the more common “Listing of Impairments” so the treating physician could be more familiar with what type of documentation of an injury, medical condition or mental status would qualify a person for disability.
Assuming that the situation of a particular client is such that their physical or mental problems do not neatly fit under a “Listing of Impairment” at Step 3, we must then go to Step 4.
At Step 4, the primary consideration is whether, given the claimant’s physical and mental limitations, they can return to any of the prior jobs they have held. The practice here is to get an accurate description of a claimant’s prior work. Often claimant’s work will vary substantially from what one would normally consider their work to entail. In some cases, our clients will either understate or overstate the qualifications which were necessary for performing a prior job. Often a critical, and often an overlooked element of a disability claim which we thoroughly investigate with consideration of developing your disability claim.
The final stage in the Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, assuming they are not working, have a severe impairment that does not meet the listing of impairments and cannot return to any prior job, is whether there are any other jobs which exist in significant numbers which the claimant could perform. It is important to note that simply being not able to perform your past job, in most circumstances, will not be sufficient to get your disability. ALL jobs must be excluded, once we get to Step 5, taking into consideration your age, education and work experience. What this means is, if you used to be a steel worker, we may have to show that you could no longer perform any job such as a security guard, telephone solicitor or door monitor, in order to successfully win your claim.
At Drummond Disability, we approach these 5 steps successfully and we are experienced in all of them. If you’d like to discuss your particular claim with us, please give us a call or contact us using our website. We would like to have an opportunity to show you what we can do for you.
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