According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three of the most common physical disabilities that affect people include arthritis, heart disease, and respiratory disorders.
About one in four Americans lives with a disability, managing a condition that either limits or completely prevents their capacity for work. A lack of income only adds to the stress of living with a disability.
Arthritis and Other Musculoskeletal Disorders
Chronic and persistent pain caused by arthritis is listed by the CDC as one of the most common causes of disability among adults in the United States, affecting over 54 million Americans.
This debilitating condition leaves some people unable to work or with limited working capacity due to pain and restricted movement. Arthritis has no cure, but this long-term health condition is typically managed with a regimen of prescribed treatment.
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Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is known as coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart and is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Several risk factors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, and high blood cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease.
Other conditions, such as diabetes, can also contribute to the problem. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, people who have CAD may qualify for disability benefits.
Respiratory disorders affecting the airflow in the lungs, such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis, amongst others, have a significant negative impact on a person’s ability to work.
According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 17 million people in the United States are affected with COPD alone, with over 70% of these people under the age of 65.
You may qualify for benefits in some instances. Even if your condition is not perceived as being severe enough to meet the official listing requirements from the Social Security Administration (SSA), an attorney may be able to help you prove that your condition prevents or limits you from working. This also applies to other health conditions.
Recovering Benefits Is Not Always a Simple Procedure
As every person’s circumstance is unique, recovering benefits is far from a simple process and requires you to prove that your condition is severe enough to prevent or limit your ability to work. Other qualifying health conditions could entitle you to benefits. Further information can be found on the SSA website.
To proceed with your claim, you must obtain and provide the SSA with information about your medical providers so that they can obtain evidence to support your application for benefits. Evidence that can support your claim may include:
- Medical history
- Physical examinations
- Laboratory and function tests
- X-rays and other scans such as ECGs and CT scans
- Prescribed treatment history
- Information about surgeries
- Other corroborating statements about the impact of your condition on your health and ability to work
This information is included as part of your application and passed to the Disability Determination Department for review.
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Preparing Your Application for SSA Benefits
When applying for SSA benefits, you will want to be as prepared as possible since the process involves ample paperwork. Before you submit your application, you will want to:
- Review the SSA’s “Blue Book” to see if your disability meets medical requirements
- Provide detailed answers to all questions
- Provide contact information for all of your medical providers so that the SSA can obtain these records
The more evidence you have to support your claim, the better. You also have the option to hire a disability attorney to help you throughout the process. Our firm can review your claim and ensure the SSA has the appropriate information about your medical providers.
The SSA may also request that you attend an appointment with an independent doctor for a consultative medical exam to determine the extent of your disability and its impact on your ability to work. This will be taken into account along with evidence provided through your long-term primary doctor’s statements and medical records.
What Happens If You Receive a Denial of Benefits?
Once the SSA has reviewed your application, you will receive a notification of its decision regarding any benefits you are entitled to receive. If the SSA denies your claim, you have the right to file an appeal.
Our Disability Lawyers Can Handle Your Appeal
Dealing with a disability is hard enough, but when you receive a denial of benefits, the next steps can be overwhelming. Appealing the SSA’s decision involves a series of requests, each with its own deadline and paperwork.
You may need to provide additional medical documentation or attend a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Your appeal may pass through multiple departments before it is completed, and in some cases, you may even have to request a review with the Federal Court.
You do not have to struggle through this process alone, though. An attorney with our firm can help you navigate the various stages of appealing so you can focus on your health and your family. We can:
- Request a reconsideration from the original Disability Determination Services representative who handled your claim
- Request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you for your hearing or represent you at your hearing
- Request a review with the Appeals Council
- Request a review with the Federal Court
Be sure that you act quickly, because you only have 60 days to begin the appeals process once you are denied.
Our Lawyers Can Help You Apply for Benefits or Appeal a Denial
If you have a physical disability that is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be wondering whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
The attorneys at Berger and Green are ready to help you and your family. Call (412) 661-1400 for a free case evaluation and tell us about your circumstances. We will see how we can support your claim or help with the appeals process if you received a denial of benefits.