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What medical conditions qualify me for SSD benefits?

If you have been unable to work due to a long-term illness or injury, you may be wondering whether your medical condition qualifies you for Social Security Disability. These disability benefits can provide you with the financial support you need as you learn to manage your condition, including helping to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

To find out if your medical condition qualifies you for disability benefits, you should first refer to the Social Security Administration's "Listing of Medical Impairments," also known as the Blue Book. If your condition is listed there, you automatically qualify for disability benefits, assuming that you have worked enough hours in positions covered by Social Security. Certain respiratory illnesses (e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis), cardiovascular conditions (e.g. chronic heart failure), digestive ailments (e.g. liver disease, IBD), musculoskeletal issues, and neurological disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis) are all covered under the blue book guidelines, along with many others. Mental illnesses such as depression and intellectual disability are also covered. Children under the age of 18 have their own list of conditions, but most are the same as those on the adult list.

If your condition is not listed in the Blue Book, you may still be able to recover benefits if you meet certain criteria. You will likely qualify for benefits if you suffer from a medically determinable impairment that limits your residual functional capacity or RFC. To determine your RFC, the claims examiner will consider the most strenuous thing you can do with your medical condition.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability is not easy, as the SSA has strict requirements, but if you can provide enough evidence of the severity of your illness or injury, you have a good chance to recover benefits in Philadelphia. Those who wish to learn more about how to prepare their claim, or how to appeal a claim denial, may want to consult with an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Conditions that Qualify You for Disability Claims," accessed on May 1, 2017

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee