This post discusses Social Security Disability Conditions. In our experience, the name of your ailment is frequently not as important as the severity of your symptoms for the purposes of attaining disability benefits.
The Bishop Law Firm has represented Social Security Disability clients since 2009 in front of the Social Security Administration. We offer free case reviews and no fee unless you win.
Our attorney, Kimberly Bishop, is a NC Board Certified Social Security Disability Law Specialist. Also, Chasity Everett, EDPNA has worked as a legal professional helping Social Security Disability clients for 15 years with the last 10 of those years with Attorney Bishop.
Our firm offers free case reviews and no fee unless you win for North Carolina clients. Call us today or start your free case review online now.
Social Security Disability
After you apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, you may have to go through several levels in order to attain benefits (Initial, Reconsideration, Hearing, Appeals Council and District Court).
Step 1 – Are You Working? The Social Security Administration defines work as “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA). SGA is roughly defined as work from earnings that average more than $1,470 (2023) a month. If you are making that amount you generally will not qualify for disability.
Step 2 – Is Your Condition “Severe”? Severity is key when it comes to what qualifies as a disability. Severe is defined by the Social Security Administration as: your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered.
Step 3 – Is Your Condition on the List of Disabling Conditions? The Listings are very hard to meet in most cases and not always interpreted as a common reading would suggest. If you meet a listing you are gravely ill. The listings are found here.
Step 4 – Can You Do the Work You Did Previously? The Social Security Administration will look at your past work and determine if it was sedentary, light, medium, or heavy. They also will evaluate the skill level: unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled. For instance, an attorney would be sedentary skilled work. The Dictionary of Occupational Titles is found here.
Step 5 – Can You Do Any Other Type of Work? If the Social Security Administration finds that you cannot do what you used to do, they then look to see if you can do anything else. This is where the “grids” come into play. The grids are the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. The grids are only for exertional impairments. Non-exertional impairments are not considered by the grids. If you are found to be capable of any other work, you will be found not disabled. Read The Grids and Your Social Security Disability Case.
As listed above, under the Five Step Sequential Evaluation, Social Security can use the Listing of Impairments (Listings at Step 3) or the Medical Vocational Guidelines (Grids at Step 5) to find you disabled. SSA also has the Compassionate Allowance List that can be used in conjunction with the Listings.
Simply because your impairment is/is not found in the Listings does not mean that you will/will not be found disabled. And while increasing age helps immensely on the Grids, there are no guarantees that you will be approved.
What makes someone eligible for Social Security disability?
In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income:
You must make less than what SSA considers to be substantial gainful activity (SGA) (currently $1,470 (2023) a month gross) and
Qualify for SSDI (from your work credits) or SSI (income/asset requirements) and
Be found disabled by the Social Security Administration
Also watch: Who can apply for Social Security Disability?
What conditions qualify as a disability to Social Security?
What qualifies as a disability for Social Security’s purposes varies based on severity. Severity is key, not the name of your disease. While having an impairment on the Compassionate Allowance List can qualify you quickly, most people (fortunately) do not have impairments on that list.
I have had clients with asthma so severe that they could barely breathe with the help of 24-hr oxygen use. I have also had clients with cancer whose medical records described them as capable of running a marathon.
Over the years, we have written blogs about different diseases and disability benefits. While we can not guarantee how SSA will evaluate your case, these blogs represent some of the clients that our firm has represented over the years.