According to the Social Security Administration, as of 2015 there were more than 10 million people who were receiving Social Security Disability benefits. This number included 8.9 million disabled workers, more than 259,000 disabled widows and widowers, 141,000 spouses of disabled workers and 1.6 million children of disabled workers. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must have a medical impairment which qualifies you. Below are some of the most common types of disabilities which are qualified under Social Security Disability:
Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue Disabilities—This type of disability represents almost a full third of the SSDI diagnoses, and involved the ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Examples of musculoskeletal disorders include:
- Arthritis—Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder, also known as a connective tissue disorder. The rheumatoid arthritis must significantly limit the individual’s ability to work to qualify for SSDI benefits.Scoliosis, spinal disorders, ruptured discs and degenerative disc disease—If your ability to walk is impaired by any of these disorders, or if the intensity of back pain limits your ability to function and to work, then they could qualify you for SSDI benefits.
- Fibromyalgia—Fibromyalgia causes widespread soft tissue, muscle, tendon and joint pain lasting for more than three months. If fibromyalgia limits your ability to work, the disorder could qualify you for SSDI benefits.
- RSD—RSD is intense burning or aching pain caused by trauma to an extremity and can severely limit your ability to work.
Mental Disorders—About 20 percent of all Social Security Disability benefits are for some type of qualifying mental disorder which must result in extreme limitations in the ability to function and includes the following:
- Mood disorders—Panic attacks, depression and anxiety all fall under the umbrella label of mood disorders. The depression, anxiety or panic attacks must significantly limit your ability to have social interactions with others, to understand and apply information, to manage yourself and to concentrate.
- Schizophrenia—This includes other psychotic disorders such as disorganized thinking, hallucinations and delusions.
- Organic brain syndrome—Confusion, memory loss and loss of cognitive abilities which limit your ability to work all fall under organic brain syndrome.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder—PTSD is a type of disabling mood and anxiety disorder.Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism—Those with medically documented deficits in social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communications and the ability to understand, recall and apply information could be eligible for benefits based on these disorders.
Circulatory disorders—About 10 percent of all Social Security Disability claims are based on circulatory disorders such as coronary artery disease (to the extent the disease impacts your ability to function), congenital heart defects and abnormal heart rhythms. If you have undergone a surgical procedure for a congenital heart defect, you could potentially qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for at least 12 months after a pacemaker is inserted or heart valve or lesions are surgically treated.
Neoplasms—A neoplasm is also known as a tumor or an abnormal tissue mass which could be benign or malignant. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are common types of cancers.
Neurological Disorders—About 10 percent of the 2015 disability benefits awarded were for some type of neurological disorder. A neurological disorder could include blindness, Parkinson’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Neuralgia (chronic pain affecting parts of your face), hearing loss and sciatica. Moderate hearing loss does not qualify as disabling, however if you are profoundly deaf you are likely to qualify for Social Security Disability. For sciatica you must prove you have sought sufficient treatment, and that the pain of sciatica severely limits your ability to handle work demands.
Other conditions such as kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, digestive system disorders, autoimmune system disorders, chronic migraines and respiratory system disorders.
Qualifying Disorders in the SSA’s Blue Book - The Social Security Administration maintains an impairment list of disorders which are considered so severe they automatically qualify for disability benefits (so long as all other requirements are properly met), although the Social Security Administration “Blue Book” describes these conditions as well as what is needed to prove the impairment. If you have a condition which is considered equal in severity to a listed impairment, you could qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do not have a listed impairment—or one which is considered equal in severity to a listed impairment—you may still be able to show you have a medical condition which prevents you from working.
Qualifying Disorders Under Umbrella Terms - Musculoskeletal disorders are judged on how they may affect your ability to walk, stand, sit, push, pull, lift, grip or manipulate objects. If you could potentially continue to work with reasonable accommodations, then your musculoskeletal disorder might not qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. As far as amputations are concerned, it is generally required that you have two limbs amputated to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, although there are exceptions to this. It must be shown that a prosthetic device cannot be used to help you return to work.
A connective tissue disorder can include Sjogren’s Syndrome, Scleroderma, Systemic Lupus, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Marfan Syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Polymyositis or Dermatomyositis. Nervous system disorders could include epilepsy, stroke, ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, benign brain tumors, cerebral palsy, Parkinsonian Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, polio, myasthenia gravis, muscular dystrophy, peripheral neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, pernicious anemia, Friedreich’s ataxia, cerebral trauma and syringomyelia. Under vision and hearing disorders, Meniere’s disease, macular degeneration, speech loss, vertigo/dizziness and Retinitis Pigmentosa could qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, depending on the level of severity.
Circulatory system disorders may include Peripheral Vascular Disease, high blood pressure (if it severely limits your ability to work), Coronary Artery Disease, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, arrhythmia and angina. Endocrine and metabolic disorders could include parathyroid gland disorders, thyroid, pituitary and adrenal gland disorders, diabetes, obesity and pancreatitis, but only to the extent the disorder limits your ability to work. Respiratory system disorders can include: lung transplants, sleep apnea, sleep-related breathing disorders, chronic pulmonary vascular hypertension, chronic lung infections, bronchiectasis, pneumoconiosis, cystic fibrosis, asthma and chronic pulmonary insufficiency.
Getting Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim - If you are disabled and unable to work, having a Sullo & Sullo disability attorney Houston by your side can truly make the difference in the outcome of your benefit claim. Our experienced disability lawyers in Houston, Texas have a deep understanding of Social Security Disability benefits and can answer your questions regarding how to apply for disability, how to file for disability and any other questions regarding SSI or SSDI benefits.