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When you develop a medical condition that impedes your ability to hold a job, it can significantly impact your life. There are no two ways about it. In such a situation, it is important to figure out what options you have for financial help, including disability benefits. After developing a life-altering medical condition, you may find yourself wondering, Do I qualify for disability? The answer to this question is not always cut and dried. That said, there are a number of conditions that automatically meet social security disability qualifications by definition. Other conditions can qualify you for an expedited decision on your application but are not automatic. Whatever your questions are, Gerling Law is here to help you navigate the disability application process from start to finish.

What Conditions Qualify You for Disability?

Some medical conditions will, with a diagnosis, automatically qualify you for disability. You can find these conditions on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances List (CAL). With a medical diagnosis of one of the conditions on this list, you will, by definition, qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both. SSA has published a complete list of all CAL medical conditions here. The list is too long for this piece, but some of the notable medical conditions on the CAL include:

  • Adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  • Adult-onset Huntington’s disease,
  • Anaplastic adrenal cancer,
  • Bladder cancer, 
  • Batten disease,
  • Canavan disease (CD),
  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease,
  • Esophageal cancer,
  • Gallbladder cancer,
  • Heart transplant waitlist,
  • Inflammatory breast cancer,
  • Lou Gherig’s disease (ALS),
  • Pancreatic cancer,
  • Small cell lung cancer, and
  • Stage IV breast cancer.

If you have a medical diagnosis of one of the diseases noted on the CAL, the SSA simply requires proof of that medical diagnosis for approval of your application for benefits. Suppose you are applying for disability benefits on the basis of one of the conditions in the CAL. In such a case, you do not need to do anything different in your application than you would for any other medical condition. Simply submit the application with the required materials. Once your application is received, it will be flagged automatically by the SSA system for expedited review.

The Importance of Documentation

Maintaining proper documentation of your medical diagnosis is critically important in the application process. Your medical diagnosis is the most indisputable documentation and record of your medical condition and disability. This is what the SSA will look at, so we cannot overstate the importance of keeping track of it. 

It is also important to document your symptoms before and after you go to the doctor. If you make a journal of symptoms and bring it to medical appointments, it will help your service providers make an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is critical. Documenting symptoms is also a great help in managing your disability.

How to Submit Your Application

There are three ways to submit your application for disability benefits to the SSA. The first way to apply is to do so in person. For this, simply go to the closest Social Security office. To apply in person, you do not need an appointment. The SSA’s online field office locator tool will help you find the office closest to you. If you don’t want to apply in person, you can call 800-772-1213 to schedule a phone appointment with an SSA agent. The third option to apply for SSA disability benefits is to use their online application tool. To apply online, visit www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/ on the SSA website. You will also find more detailed information on the application process on this web page, so be sure to give it a visit even if you plan to apply in person.


If you have any questions or troubles with the SSA disability application process, contact us at Gerling Law today. Our disability attorneys have extensive experience helping people claim their disability benefits. From wrongful denials to application and administrative details, our disability attorneys have seen it all and are here to help you. Don’t just take our word for it; be sure to check out our testimonials page to see how we have helped our clients in the past. If you need help, reach out and tell us your story in a free consultation, and we’ll do our best to make things right. Remember

Go with Experience. Go with Gerling®

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Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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