If you have a rare medical condition that is keeping you from working, you might be wondering how you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict guidelines for disability benefits approval that are applicable to anyone with a medical problem preventing him or her from earning an income from work. The SSA uses the Blue Book, which is a medical guide, to determine whether an individual meets the criteria of being legally disabled and eligible for benefits.
Medically Qualifying for Social Security
To medically qualify for disability benefits, you have to meet the criteria for your condition in the Blue Book. If your condition doesn't have its own listing in the Blue Book, you can meet the criteria for a more common condition that has a listing but has the same symptoms and same impact.
As an example, if you have a problem that isn't listed but causes vision issues, you can use Section 2.02, which covers Loss of Visual Acuity, or Section 2.04, which covers Loss of Visual Efficiency. If your condition causes your eyesight to worsen to 20/200 or less, you will meet the medical qualifications for benefits, according to the Blue Book.
If your condition doesn't meet the Blue Book listing, you still might qualify for benefits. A medical-vocational allowance can also be used to gain benefits approval. For this process, all of your medical issues, all your treatments, any side effects, and all of your symptoms are considered together.
Here's more information on how to qualify with a medical-vocational allowance.
As an example, your condition doesn't meet the criteria of a similar condition in the Blue Book but you suffer from blurred vision, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness you should make sure all of those symptoms have been noted. If your physician says you cannot bend over or lift because of your dizziness and nausea, that should be noted. If you cannot stand for more than 30 minutes at a time, then make sure you have documentation from your physician to support that. Combining all these data might help you meet the requirements for being awarded disability benefits.
Documentation is Key
In order to have a successful disability claim and be awarded monthly benefits, you need to be able to provide documentation that supports your claim and that shows your condition keeps you from working. A residual functioning capacity form (RFC)completed by your physician can be very beneficial. The RFC details what you can and cannot do and how long you can do things, such as stand and sit. Make sure your physician is aware of all symptoms and makes detailed notes in your medical record.
Keep medical appointments and see specialists as necessary. Note any physical changes and limitations day by day. These documents can significantly help your chances of your claim being approved and you being awarded monthly benefits.
Some rare disabilities must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the SSA.
If you are in the process of filing a claim for disability benefits, you should consult with disability attorney or advocate. Your odds of being approved for benefits greatly improve with the help of someone experienced in handling such claims. It is important to start this process now as it can be quite lengthy.