Musculoskeletal system disorders—including burns, amputations, fractures, or loss of function—can limit your ability to work. Many people struggle to make ends meet because of these impairments. If you can no longer work and earn a sustainable wage because of your disorder, you may be eligible for disability benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
At Berger and Green, our Pittsburgh disability attorneys can help you get the benefits you deserve. We know what it takes to get Social Security Disability (SSD) for musculoskeletal system disorders. We can help you understand the criteria for SSDI and SSI, help you apply, or fight a denial of your claim. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to get started. You pay nothing until we get you the monthly benefits you need to support your family.
How Does the Social Security Administration Evaluate My Medical Condition?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines the criteria for full disability in their impairment listings. The listing for musculoskeletal system disorders is in Section 1.00. While there are criteria based on your specific impairment or diagnosis, there are also some general guidelines for those with disabilities related to musculoskeletal conditions.
In many cases, you will qualify for disability benefits if you struggle to get around on your own on a regular basis, whether that is because of a deformity, an injury, or pain. The inability to perform certain tasks, including using fine and gross motor skills, can also meet the criteria if your medical records document this impairment.
No matter what the underlying cause of your musculoskeletal impairment, we can help you understand the criteria you need to meet to qualify for disability. If we find you do not meet the criteria in the impairment listings, we will discuss other ways you may be able to qualify for the monthly payments you need.
How Can I Qualify for Benefits If I Do Not Meet the Criteria Under My Impairment Listing?
You do not have to meet one of the SSA’s impairment listings to qualify for benefits. You can also qualify based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). The disability examiner assigned your case will determine your RFC as a part of reviewing your application. Your RFC is a statement of your ability to function, based on your medical records and other documentation of your condition.
Your RFC considers the type of work you are capable of, how often you can work, and for how long. It considers your abilities based on your condition, as well as the chronic pain it causes. In general, if you cannot work your most recent job or any other job, you are eligible for SSD benefits.
Why Is Medical Documentation So Important to a Successful Application?
In most cases, the Social Security disability examiner usually relies on your medical records, test results, and other documentation from your doctor to learn everything they can about your health condition. This means your disability application relies heavily on medical documentation of your impairment.
When you file a claim, you must include contact information for your health care providers. This allows the disability examiner to request access to your test results, notes about your treatment and outcomes, and other medical records. When it comes to musculoskeletal impairments, there are two primary things they are looking for.
Your Longitudinal Clinical Record
Your medical records should include testing to confirm your diagnosis and the severity of your impairment as well as continuing treatment.
Records of Treatment and Response
Understanding the treatments you tried and how you responded to them is key in understanding the nature of your impairment. This documentation can help the SSA determine whether or not you are likely to recover your abilities quickly.
Are There Other Criteria I Need Meet to Get Disability Benefits?
Disability programs also have income and work history qualifications besides the medical criteria you must meet. These vary by program, but our attorneys can help you decide if you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.
To qualify for the SSDI program, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your monthly earned income is below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, which is$1,180 for 2018; and
- You have the required number of work credits based on your employment history and age.
The SSI program does not require a certain number of work credits, but it does have strict income limits. To get SSI benefits, we must show the SSA:
- Your monthly income is below the set limits of $735 per individual or $1,103 per couple in 2017; and
- You have less than $2,000 in qualifying assets—or $3,000 for a couple.
Do I Have Any Recourse If the SSA Denied My Disability Claim?
Unfortunately, many people who apply for SSD programs receive denials based on their initial application. Luckily, we can often successfully appeal this denial.
If the SSA denied your claim, give us a call as soon as possible. We only have a limited time to request an appeal hearing. We will investigate your claim and represent you in your appeal hearing. Often, we can convince the administrative law judge to reverse the denial. If not, we can continue to navigate the appeals process and fight for the benefits you need or assist you in filing a new application.
How Can I Discuss My Application With a Pittsburgh Disability Lawyer?
At Berger and Green, our legal team knows what it takes to qualify for disability programs, including SSDI and SSI. We can help you understand which programs you may qualify for, go over the application process, and assist as you file your claim. If the SSA already denied your application for benefits, we can handle your appeal and get you the benefits you deserve.
Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 for a complimentary consultations and you pay nothing until we get you approved for benefits.