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If you have been injured or have developed a medical condition that prevents you from working, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), most commonly known as merely “social security disability.” But applying for SSDI doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to be awarded this benefit.

Factors that Count Before you Qualify for SSDI

  • You must have a qualifying condition or combination of conditions
  • You must be able to provide medical evidence of your condition
  • Your condition should be limiting the number of hours you work, if you can work at all
  • Your condition is expected to last at least one year or result in death

One in five Americans is currently living with a disability. Some of these disabilities are lifelong, while others are the result of illness or injury, and it is among this second group of disabled individuals that applying for and receiving disability payments can be a complex issue. If you were previously healthy and working but became disabled due to illness or injury, you must follow the guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to qualify.

What Qualifies for Disability?

The SSA has an extensive list of conditions that qualify for SSDI. Among them:Back pain – degenerative, bulging disks, herniated disks

  • Back pain – degenerative, bulging disks, herniated disks
  • Symptomatic MS, HIV, Hep C, cirrhosis
  • COPD
  • Osteo/rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteo/rheumatoid arthritis
  • Conditions caused by diabetes – neuropathy, peripheral nerve damage, diabetic retinopathy
  • Low IQ/Mild Mental RetardationJoint damage caused by something else (accidents)
  • Joint damage caused by something else (accidents)
  • Any combination of impairments that limits your ability to perform a 40-hour work week

Medical Evidence You Must Supply

It’s not enough to just tell the SSA that you have an eligible condition. You must be able to provide evidence regarding your condition, including medical reports from professionals treating you as well as from health facilities where you have received care. In some cases, further medical information may be requested or a consultative examination may be arranged to determine the severity of your disability

Your Work History

Your work history also has a bearing on being approved for SSDI benefits. If you have worked all your life, full time, and suddenly are unable to remain employed due to your condition, the SSA considers that in rendering their decision. While it is possible to continue working while you apply for SSDI, the guidelines for how much you can earn and how many hours you can work are very specific.

You Don’t Have to Go it Alone!

The decision to apply for SSDI is not always easy. It’s hard to accept that your working life may be at an end and that you will need to rely on benefits to get by. But don’t wait – it can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to receive a decision on your initial claim. If that claim is denied, the appeals process can take months before a final decision is rendered. The appeals process can be difficult to navigate on your own, so it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney experienced in Social Security Disability claims. Your lawyer can guide your claim through the appeals process and make sure the SSA has the proper information they need to process your claim.
Don’t let your inability to work due to disability cause financial hardships for you and your family. Contacting an attorney can help you to receive disability benefits that will ease your financial burden.

Author Photo

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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