According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in four Americans live with a disability, leaving people to manage a condition that either limits or completely prevents their capacity for work, adding financial pressures to an already stressful situation. Three of the most common physical disabilities that affect people include:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disorders
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 the pain and restricted movement the disease can cause. 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. While several risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and high blood cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease, conditions such as diabetes can also contribute. 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.
Depending on your circumstances, 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. There are many other qualifying health conditions in addition to the three common physical disabilities listed above that could entitle you to make a claim. Further information can be found on the SSA website.
To proceed with your claim, you must obtain and provide Social Security with information about your medical providers so that they can obtain evidence to support your application for benefits. This can include detailed reports regarding your:
- 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. 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 Social Security can obtain these records, the more evidence you have to support your claim, the better
You may want to consider hiring a disability attorney to help you throughout the process
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.
Once the Department has reviewed your application, the SSA will notify you 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. There are four stages through which an attorney can help you navigate. Be sure that you act quickly because you only have 60 days to begin the appeals process once you are denied.
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Our Team Will Fight to Get You the Benefits You Deserve
If you have a physical disability that is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may be considering whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
The attorneys at Berger and Green are ready to help you. Call (412) 661-1400 for a free case evaluation and tell us about your circumstances. We will see how we can support your claim by proving the validity of your disability or with the appeals process if your application has been turned down.