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What do I need to qualify for Social Security Disability?

To qualify for Social Security Disability in Bellevue, you must have a medically documented physical or mental condition that keeps you from performing at least one work activity. What exactly does that mean?

For your impairment(s) to be considered disabling, it must result in limitations in what you can do. For example, a physical impairment of severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands may limit use of those extremities to the point where you cannot use them for more than a few minutes in an hour. As a result, you could not work at any full time job, which is defined as being able to work eight hours a day, 40 hours a week.

Second, your impairment must be documented by a valid medical source, such as a physician or psychiatrist. It is very important that you do your best to obtain treatment for your condition. If you do not have insurance or cannot afford treatment, seek out your local health department, vocational rehabilitation office, or as a last resort, a hospital emergency room. At least your condition or complaint of condition will be documented. In some instances where no records exist, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send you -- at their expense -- to a medical source for a consultative exam. The medical source will examine you and give their expert opinion on your condition.

Medical records can sometimes be all you need to be approved for disability if you meet one of SSA's "Listing of Medical Impairments." This listing is often called the Blue Book. The current listings include specific conditions in the following areas:

  1. Musculoskeletal
  2. Special senses and speech
  3. Respiratory
  4. Cardiovascular
  5. Digestive
  6. Genitourinary
  7. Hematological
  8. Skin disorders
  9. Endocrine disorders
  10. Congenital disorders
  11. Neurological disorders
  12. Mental disorders
  13. Cancer
  14. Immune disorder

The listing requirements are very specific regarding symptoms, resulting limitations and the existence of medical documentation to support the claim. However, if evidence of a listing exists, you will be approved for disability benefits.

Do I have to meet a listing? No. Many people with impairments that do not meet a listing are still approved. However, this is where it benefits you to have a representative to help you with your claim. Disability representatives are familiar with the decision-making process and know what it takes to prove your claim.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Conditions that Qualify You for Disability Claims," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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