Qualifying Impairments

Lawyers for SSDI Claims in Chicago

Certain conditions can be disabling and interfere with your ability to get or keep a job. You may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, you'll have to show you have a qualifying impairment in order to obtain them. The Social Security Administration keeps what's known as a blue book, which lists the impairments that would automatically qualify you for SSDI Benefits or Supplement Security Income (SSI) if you meet the criteria listed. Even so, many people are turned down for SSDI or SSI benefits. If you have been denied benefits and need to file a request for reconsideration, or if you are filing for the first time, it can be helpful to retain an experienced Chicago SSDI attorney.

Qualifying Impairments

The blue book lists numerous impairments, including those that are cardiovascular disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, speech-based disorders, sensory disorders, neurological disorders, mental or psychiatric disorders, respiratory illnesses, immune system disorders, syndromes, cancers, skin disorders, kidney disorders, digestive tract problems, and more.

Each of these different categories of disorders includes various qualifying impairments. For example, multiple sclerosis is a qualifying impairment that is a neurological disorder. Similarly, coronary artery disease is a qualifying impairment that is a cardiovascular condition. HIV and AIDS are qualifying immune system disorders. Hemolytic anemia is a qualifying hematological disorder.

Definition of Disability

Disability exists under the Social Security rules only if you can't do work you did previously, you can't perform other work due to your impairment, and your impairment has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or to result in death. You can only obtain SSDI if you are totally disabled. You can't get benefits for partial or a short disability. If your impairment is not qualifying under the Social Security rules, there may be other sources of funds to give you support during your disability, such as workers' compensation or a personal injury recovery.

You can be awarded disability benefits based on a qualifying impairment, even if you don't meet the precise criteria listed for a specific condition. You may also be able to obtain disability benefits if Social Security believes that some aspects of your condition are medically equal to the criteria in the listing or a related listing. More people are awarded SSDI for meeting a listing, but a small percentage is awarded SSDI for equaling a listing.

It is still possible to obtain disability benefits even if your disability doesn't equal the criteria specified in the blue book for the particular condition. In order for you to obtain benefits, your impairment must limit your capacity to work such that you cannot work. Some impairments that aren't listed in the blue book but that might count as qualifying impairments include fibromyalgia, celiac disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and degenerative disc disease. A seasoned SSDI lawyer can help you present your case for benefits if you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions.

Five Step Process

You'll need to have enough work history to qualify for disability benefits, but so long as you do, a five-step process is followed to determine whether your impairments warrant provision of SSDI. The Disability Determination Services office will look at whether your condition notably restricts your capacity for basic work like remembering or walking for at least 12 months. You won't be found disabled if it doesn't so restrict your capacity. If it does restrict your capacity this way, the office will consult a list of medical conditions that are considered so severe that you cannot complete substantial gainful activity. However, if your condition isn't listed, the next question is whether the impairment is as severe as a listed medical impairment.

If it is as severe, a disability will be found. Otherwise, the office determines whether the impairment stops you from doing any of the past work you've performed. If it doesn't, you won't be found to be disabled. If it does, the office examines whether there's other work you could perform in spite of the impairment, given the specific impairment, as well as your transferable skills, education, past work, and age. Those who can't do other work will be found disabled.

Consult an Experienced SSDI Attorney in Chicago

At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago lawyers may be able to help you with your initial application for benefits as well as any steps that need to be taken, such as an appeal, should the initial application be denied. It is critical to present a case that your impairment qualifies you for disability benefits. Our firm has helped those disabled in Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other communities in Kane, Winnebago, Cook, Sangamon, Champaign, and Adams Counties. We look at your disability case carefully to make sure we address all areas of potential relief, such as workers' compensation or personal injury. We can be reached at (312) 263-6330, toll free at (800) 444-1525, or via our online form.