Common Social Security Disability Impairments

by Matt Berry

Posted on Friday 13th of February 2009

By law, Social Security has a strict definition of a disability. According to the Social Security Administration, to be found disabled and to receive Social Security benefits:

- You must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medical condition AND
- Your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year, or be expected to result in your death

The Social Security Administration assesses your overall ability to engage in employment or, in their terminology, “substantial gainful activity”. In making this analysis the administration is supposed to consider the totality of your medical condition. Two elements of analysis are the Grid Rules, using a specific set of regulations, and “The Listings”

The Listings describe certain conditions or diseases that effect major body systems. The major categories of common disabilities include:

- Musculoskeletal Disorders and Growth Impairments
- Vision Disorders
- Balance and Hearing Disorders
- Speech Disorders
- Breathing Disorders
- Heart and Blood Vessel Diseases
- Digestive System Diseases
- Kidney Diseases
- Blood and Lymphatic Diseases

When you apply for Social Security benefits, the SSA (Social Security Administration) and the DDS (State Disability Determination Services) will request information from you. To ensure that you receive Social Security benefits, keep track of your personal and medical information:

Information the SSA may request:
SSA representatives usually obtain applications for disability benefits. When applying for Social Security benefits, you will need to fill out forms and complete an interview.

Have the following information ready for the SSA:

- Names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors, hospitals and clinics
- A certified copy of your birth certificate
- A W-2 form if you worked last year
- Your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE) if you were self-employed
- Workers’ compensation information (date of injury, claim number, proof of payment amounts)
- Social Security numbers for you and your spouse
- A history of your previous jobs
- Any checking or savings account numbers

The DDS (Disability Determination Services):

The DDSs are state agencies responsible for obtaining sufficient medical evidence to show that you are eligible to receive Social Security benefits.

The SSA and the DDS will need some or all of the following information:

- Your medical assistance number, if applicable
- The contact information for the doctor/HMO/therapist or other person who treated your illnesses, injuries, or conditions, or who you expect to treat you in the future
- Hospitals, clinics, or emergency rooms you visited
- Medications you take
- Medical tests you had

If evidence is unavailable or insufficient to make a determination, the DDS will arrange for a consultive examination (CE).

Should I Contact a Disability Lawyer?

As you have learned there are a wide variety of disability impairments that can quality for Social Security Disability (including SSDI and SSI Disability) benefits. Each claimant must decide how to proceed with a disability claim. Some people will opt to contact a Social Security Disability lawyer. This can be very helpful because often an experienced Social Security attorney will be well versed in your medical condition, which will help in your disability application. Whether you are applying for MS Social Security disability, heart disease or a variety of other conditions, the chances of you winning disability benefits with the help of a disability lawyer are higher than if you were to defend your case alone.

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