Woman sitting with SSDI attorney

What Medical Conditions Qualify Someone for SSD Benefits?

Nobody wants to be dependent on the government to make ends meet. But when medical conditions prevent you from working, few other options exist. 

Social Security Disability (SSD) exists to provide for those unlucky few who are incapable of making a living due to a medical condition. But because it is a government program, there is a lot of red tape involved with getting SSD benefits.

The first requirement is having a condition that qualifies. Not all medical conditions that limit your ability to work will qualify you for SSD. And some conditions may qualify you only if you put in the extra effort. When navigating SSD, it is best to get advice from a disability attorney.

Social Security Maintains a List of Qualifying Conditions

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of conditions that qualify for SSD. This list includes:

  • Immune system disorders
  • Mental disorders such as depression or autism
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Impaired vision, speech, or hearing
  • Respiratory dysfunction
  • Neurological disorders like epilepsy
  • Blood disorders
  • Cardiovascular conditions

If you have one of the conditions on this list and it impairs your ability to work, you qualify for SSD. This list is specific to adults. Children can also qualify and have a nearly identical list that also includes growth impairment.

Proving Your Condition Qualifies

Just because you know you have a medical condition that qualifies, that doesn’t mean the SSA is aware. To receive SSD benefits, you need to prove that your condition qualifies.

To prove your condition qualifies, you will need a physical examination from a doctor. An examination from your personal physician is usually sufficient to prove that your condition exists but may not be sufficient to prove it impairs your ability to work. For the latter, you will likely need to be examined by an independent physician.

No matter who is examining you, the more evidence you can provide to the SSA, the better. The best evidence comes from the results of tests like:

  • MRIs
  • CAT scans
  • X-rays
  • Blood work panels

Unlike the opinion of a doctor or therapist, this type of evidence is more difficult to refute.

Medical Conditions Not on the List

If you have a medical condition that isn’t on the approved list, you may still qualify for SSD benefits. However, to do so, you have more work to do.

The main hurdle is that you need to prove that your medical condition significantly limits your ability to work. A doctor will test your capacity to function for extended periods to determine this. 

These tests are both for active work and sedentary work. Thus, if you can effectively sit at a desk for eight hours a day, it doesn’t matter that you can’t perform physical labor for that period.

If the tests reveal that you have minimal or no ability to work for extended periods, then it doesn’t matter if your medical condition is not on the official list. That is all of the proof you need that your medical condition qualifies you to receive SSD benefits.

Appealing a Decision by Social Security

Even if you should qualify, you might be turned down for benefits by the SSA. If this happens, you can appeal the decision. Before you appeal any decision, you should hire an experienced Social Security attorney.

Social Security attorneys are familiar with what evidence is most likely to get you benefits and know how to navigate the system. Your chance of succeeding on an appeal is much higher if you have a Phoenix, AZ, disability attorney from Roeschke Law, LLC, representing you. Get in touch with our office today.