When you've suffered an injury or disability that prevents you from earning income for your home or family, the subsequent stress can be overwhelming on top of the pain or injury. Financial strain to your household creates emotional burdens which can prevent you from recovering or, in some cases, can cause your conditions to worsen.
Many claimants find the disability benefits application process cumbersome and confusing. Applications for benefits are often denied on the first submission, causing many to abandon their claim altogether. If you're considering filing an application for SSDI benefits, it's important to understand the types of injuries that qualify for social security benefits. With an understanding of the various guidelines, limitations and documentation requirements applicants can begin the benefits claims process armed with knowledge, confidence and less stress.
List of Disabling Conditions
One of the first things applicants need to know when it comes to their injury and a claim for social security is the need for their disability to appear on the list of disabling conditions. The list of disabling conditions is a formal guide for the types of injuries and illnesses that the government considers sufficiently limiting as to prevent the applicant from being able to engage in normal work.
The list isn't simply a generic listing of pain or lack of range of motion type of guide. The list of disabling conditions provides detailed guidance on specific medical conditions, and the degree to which they effect the applicant. These conditions must be diagnosed and documented by a medical doctor for the applicant to qualify for social security.
Many first-time applicants have their initial claims for benefits rejected due to insufficient documentation of their disability. Doctors are often more interested in treating their patients than providing detailed reports to be filed with the government. An advocate or legal representative who knows the individual requirements of a claim can often work with applicants to help obtain the necessary charts, lists of office visits, medical bills and more to bolster the case for injury and present it in a method that strengthens their case with the SSDI review board.
Disability Must be Severe
In addition to the condition appearing on the list of disabling conditions, an applicant for social security benefits must also prove their condition is severe. Making this claim often requires detailed documentation regarding range of motion, pain and extent to which the injury or disability affects a claimant's day to day life. A partial impairment, temporary condition or a disability or injury that isn't properly documented could limit or eliminate your ability to recover disability benefits.
Restrictions on Ability to Work
Finally, a claimant must successfully show that their qualifying, severe injury also permanently affects their ability to work. This is often an area where claimants fail to provide adequate information and see their initial SSDI benefits claims denied. A thorough description of your previous employment, including job duties and exacting descriptions of physical activity required must be submitted. Along with this, claimants must show that their disability or injury prevents them from performing the activity and no reasonable accommodation can be given by the employer. This often requires claimants obtaining witness testimony, statements, employee manuals or affidavits from supervisors or employers.
Once a claimant has proven they are no longer able to perform work, to receive permanent and full benefits they must also show that their condition also limits the ability to perform other work. This test will take into consideration current economic and employment opportunities the claimant may qualify for. An experienced advocate is often prepared for this contingency, providing adequate medical information from the outset so that an application meets both the current and alternative employment tests and has an increased chance of approval after initial submission.
Whether you choose to engage the services of an attorney, or go it alone, remember it's important to review the list of qualifying conditions and thoroughly document how your disability fits the list, is severe and prevents you from performing your current or reasonably alternative job duties. Having an experienced SSDI advocate, such as those with the Law Offices of Justin McMurray P.C., can help navigate these uncertainties and prepare your claim for submission. If you'd like to discuss your Social Security benefits claim, contact us today for a free consultation of your case.