It can be a challenging experience to apply for SSDI or SSI, but for some people it can be more challenging than usual. This may be because the applicant has a disability that is harder to prove that is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) must be convinced that the disability is severe enough to prevent the applicant from being able to work for at least 12 months. The symptoms of harder to prove disabilities may not match any of the listings in the Blue Book or the medical evidence may be insufficient to establish the severity.
Conditions That Are Hard To Prove
There are a number of conditions that never seem to quite fit the Blue Book listings, even though they are definitely disabling enough to prevent you from working. Fortunately, the SSA does not entirely rely on the Blue Book listings to make a determination about whether someone should be awarded SSDI or SSI disability benefits. These harder to prove conditions include:
- combinations of multiple physical and mental impairments that, together, make it impossible for you to work;
- fibromyalgia, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome and other “syndromes” widely known and considered disabling but often difficult to diagnose;
- mental disorders, including depression; and
- other painful and degenerative physical disabilities such as those arising from back injuries.
How Can I Qualify With a Harder to Prove Disability?
You may still be able to qualify for disability benefits, even if the SSA has rejected your application. What you could do to improve your chances of obtaining benefits depends on why the SSA rejected your application, so these reasons should be addressed before filing an appeal.
You could improve your chances of obtaining disability benefits with a harder to prove disability by any combination of the following:
- by obtaining more medical evidence that shows that your symptoms more clearly match the description in the moist relevant blue book listing;
- by obtaining an assessment from your physician to show that in his or her medical opinion you are unable to work for at least the next 12 months because of your disability;
- by getting a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment completed by your doctor which will show what you are physically (and mentally if relevant) capable of doing or not doing.
- by continuing with treatment if this is available and obtain notes from treating medical professionals about the development of your condition.
Even if your disability is not described in a Blue Book listing, you may still be able to obtain a medical vocational allowance as a result of the RFC assessment as this may show more clearly that you are unable to continue working because of your disabling condition. Note that if you have a mental disability, you can obtain a mental residual functional capacity (MRFC) assessment to show how your condition affects your ability to continue working.
Get Help With Your SSD Claim
Some medical conditions may be severely disabling, yet are hard to qualify as disabilities recognized by the SSA. Disability benefits may still be obtained if the applicant cam obtain more convincing medical evidence to show that gainful employment is no longer possible, complete an RFC or at least continue with treatment and obtain further assessments from medical personnel. A disability attorney may be able to help you with your SSDI or SSI benefits application.
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