Conditions That May Automatically Qualify You for Social Security Disability Benefits

 

Chronic or Traumatic Neck and/or Back Conditions

Common neck or back problems can severely limit a person’s ability to work. Your back or neck problem may qualify you for social security benefits if you suffer from a decreased range of motion in your back, back numbness, decreased muscle strength, or inability to walk effectively. You may suffer from a traumatic spinal injury such as a herniated disc or protruded disc, vertebral fracture, nerve root injury or multiple disc bulges which creates severe pain and limitations that disable you. Or, you may suffer chronic spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis or sciatica.

Depending on your medical findings on medical exams or testing such as a mylogram or MRI, you may or may not meet the Social Security Listing of Impairments. Some of the physical symptoms and evidence you will have to prove to meet this listing include:

    • Pain pattern, limitations of motion, muscle weakness, sensory loss and/or a positive straight leg test.
    • Spinal arachnoiditis which is a painful, burning inflammatory disease of the spine resulting in your need to change positions more than once every two hours.
    • Low back/lumbar stenosis which is a narrowing of the space about the spinal cord that can cause irritation of the nerves, numbness, weakness and interfere with your ability to walk.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 1.04 (Symtoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.


Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease with which many individuals can lead normal and productive lives. Other patients, though, face significant limitations related to their diabetes that can influence their meaningful participation in everyday life, which may include securing regular employment. The listing for diabetes is difficult to meet and requires a showing of significant and permanent diabetic complications. However, our office has successfully secured benefits for people who suffer from diabetes and your diabetes can be considered in combination with other impairments which make it disabling.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you may qualify for social security disability benefits if you suffer from:

Neuropathy that has caused you to lose dexterity in at least two of your limbs. Neuropathy is characterized by tingling or
numbness in your limbs. As a practical matter, this numbness and tingling must significantly interfere with your walking or
using your arms, hands, and finger and it must be long lasting and not adequately controlled by medicine.

Acidosis at least once every two months as a result of diabetes. Acidosis refers to changes in your blood chemistry caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

Retinitis proliferans (inflammation of the retina) which causes significant visual problems.

In most cases you will need to prove you are a brittle diabetic where you insulin injections are not controlling your blood sugar and causing neurological symptoms.  Lab testing that shows erratic blood sugar levels despite treatment is vital to help you meet this listing.

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

               Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 9.08 (Symptoms)

 


Rheumatoid/Inflammatory Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that most commonly affects small joints, such as those in the hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of these joints, causes painful swelling, and may lead to joint deformity and erosion of the bone.

If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits if:

You suffer from persistent inflammation or deformity of one or more of your major joints or one or more joints in each upper
extremity resulting in the inability to perform certain movements.

You may also be eligible if you suffer from inflammation or deformity in one or ore major peripheral joints involving two or more
organs/body systems and At least two of the following symptoms: severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 14.09 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 


Depression 

Depression is a psychological condition that can impact both the mind and body. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave. If you have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist with depression, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits. In order to meet the social security listing, you must persistently suffer from at least four of the following symptoms:

Loss of interest in almost all activities

Appetite disturbance with change in weight

Sleep disturbance

Involuntary habits such as pacing, wringing of hands and/or biting of skin   

Decreased energy

Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

Difficulty concentrating or thinking

Suicidal thoughts

Hallucinations, paranoid thinking or delusions

Which result in at least two of the following:

Severe limitations of activities of daily living, social functioning, maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace, or repeated episodes of deterioration each of extended duration.

Or:

Suffering from chronic depression which has been documented by a psychiatrist or psychologist for at least two years causing moderate limitations of your ability to do basic work activities along with one of the following:

 Repeated relapses

 The development of another disease which affects your life or

 Inability to function without assistance and supervision for a year or more.   

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 12.04 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

           

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder occurs when people experience periods of excitability (mania) alternating with periods of depression. In order to meet a Social Security Disability Listing, someone suffering from bipolar disorder will need to show a history of both manic and depressive symptoms (see depression symptoms above). Further, they must currently suffer from either or both manic and depressive symptoms.

Manic syndrome is characterized by at least three of the following:

Hyperactivity

Rapid, frenzied speech

Continuous change of thoughts/ideas

Inflated self-esteem

Decreased need for sleep

Easy distractibility

Risk-taking activities

Hallucinations, delusions or paranoid thinking

If your symptoms do not meet the listing, you may still qualify for social security disability if your bipolar disorder is severe enough to significantly limit your ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. Bipolar disorder has been shown to affect a person’s ability to walk, stand, sit, lift, see, hear, speak, understand simple instructions, use good judgment, interact appropriately with coworkers and supervisors, and deal with changes in a routine work setting.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 12.04 (Symtoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops without a reason and that may trigger severe physical reactions. However, if you have experienced several panic attacks and have spent long periods of time in constant fear of when you might have another attack, you may have a chronic condition called panic disorder.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. People diagnosed with OCD suffer from compulsions that occupy all of their time interfering with their ability to work. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to an event in which grave physical harm was threatened or occurred. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include severe accidents, domestic trauma, or participation in military service. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may also qualify for benefits due to PTSD and other injuries sustained as a result of their military service.

In order to meet a listing for any of the above anxiety-related disorders, you will need evidence from a psychiatrist or psychologist that you suffer from at least one of the following symptoms:

Generalized persistent anxiety with three of four of the following signs or symptoms:  motor tension, autonomic hyperactivity such as shortness of breath or rapid heart rate, apprehensive expectation of harm; or vigilance and scanning;

A persistent irrational fear with a compelling desire to avoid the source of fear;

Recurrent severe panic attacks occurring on the average of at least once a week;

Recurrent obsessions or compulsions producing severe distress; or

Repeated intrusive recall of a traumatic experience causing severe distress;

And causing at least two of the following:

Severe limitations of activities of daily living, social functioning, maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace, or repeated episodes of deterioration each of extended duration.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 12.06 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases that affects one’s ability to breathe normally. The two main forms of COPD are Chronic Bronchitis, defined by a long-term cough with mucus, or Emphysema, destruction of the lungs over time caused by smoking or exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes. Symptoms may include:

Cough with mucus

Shortness of breath (dyspnea) that gets worse with activity

Fatigue

Frequent respiratory infections

Wheezing

Respiratory conditions can cause limitations such as fatigue, an inability to walk long distances lifting, and work related environmental limitations.  Some environmental limitations may include avoiding dust, smoke, or extreme temperatures. In order to receive benefits, a person suffering from COPD must be evaluated for lung function and meet very specific criteria according to their age. See Medical Listing 3.02 Table I, II, and III.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 3.02 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic degenerative neurological disorder that severely affects body movements. Symptoms of Parkinson ’s disease can vary among different patients, but common symptoms include:

tremors

muscle rigidity

gait problems, fatigue

speech impairment

difficulty swallowing

slowing of higher brain functioning

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your Parkinson’s Disease (or Parkinsonian Syndrome) must cause:

significant rigidity,

slowing of physical movement

or a tremor in at least two extremities.

In addition, at least one of these symptoms must make it significantly difficult for you to control or sustain your hand or body movements.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 11.06 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

     

Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Crohn's disease, Colitis, or IBD, are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and bowel that are characterized by inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, abdominal pain, and severe diarrhea.  Some patients experience extreme weight loss and malnutrition.

In order to meet the social security listing for IBD, you must have your disease documented by endoscopy, biopsy, appropriate medically acceptable imaging, or operative findings with:

Obstruction of areas in the small intestine or colon with proximal stretching, confirmed by image testing or in surgery, and hospitalization occurring on at least two occasions at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period.

            Or two of the following within six months:

Anemia with hemoglobin of less than 10.0 g/dL, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart; or

Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart; or

Clinically documented tender abdominal mass palpable on physical examination with abdominal pain or cramping that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart; or

Perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula, with pain that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart; or

Involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline, as computed in pounds, kilograms, or BMI, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart; or

Need for supplemental daily nutrition via a stomach tube or daily IV nutrition.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 5.06 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition of the nervous system that causes grand mal and petit mal seizures. Seizures, or convulsions, are episodes of disturbed brain function that cause changes in attention or behavior. Symptoms vary, while some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, others can suffer from serious convulsions that may result in serious injury or death.

The Social Security Disability Administration recognizes two types of epilepsy: convulsive and non-convulsive.

In order to qualify for benefits for your convulsive epilepsy, your medical records must provide a detailed description of your typical seizure pattern that occur more frequently than once a month, despite at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.

With either:

Daytime episodes (loss of consciousness and convulsive seizures) or

Nocturnal episodes that cause additional symptoms that interfere significantly with daytime activity.

In order to qualify for benefits for your nonconvulsive epilepsy, your medical records must provide a detailed description of a typical seizure pattern that occur more frequently than once weekly in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.

With both:  

Alteration of awareness or loss of consciousness and

transient postictal manifestations of unconventional behavior or

significant interference with activity during the day.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 11.02 and 11.03 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

Lupus

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the immune system begins to attack your own body. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, lungs, or heart. As a result, Lupus patients can experience a wide variety of symptoms.

Your lupus may qualify you for social security benefits if:

One or more of your organs or body systems are significantly affected and

You suffer from fever, malaise, or weight loss.

If your lupus has not significantly affected any of your organs or body systems, you may still qualify if you suffer repeatedly from fever, malaise, or weight loss and these symptoms seriously limit your ability to live your everyday life or maintain concentration, persistence or pace so as to complete daily tasks.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 14.02 (Symptoms)

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the white blood cells attack glands. The hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, but the disease may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system.

In order to qualify for social security disability benefits, your Sjogren’s syndrome must:

Significantly affect at least one organ or body system and

You must also have suffered from at least two symptoms of severe fatigue, malaise, fever or weight loss.

If your Sjogren’s syndrome does not significantly affect at least one organ or body system, you may still qualify for benefits if you suffer repeatedly from at least two symptoms (severe fatigue, malaise, fever or weight loss.) In addition, these symptoms must seriously limit your ability to live your everyday life or maintain concentration, persistence or pace so as to complete daily tasks.

We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 14.10 (Symptoms)

 

Chronic Headaches/Migraines

Chronic headaches can be caused by a wide range of underlying conditions that may qualify you for
social security benefits.

Even though you may have a medical or psychiatric condition that has not yet been included in the official listing of impairments, you may still be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Benefits if your symptoms are sufficiently dibilitating.  While the government has not yet listed the following conditions as disabilities that will automatically enable sufferers to collect Social Security Disability benefits, you may still be eligible depending on the severity of your symptoms.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, located in the forearm and the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. You may qualify for social security disability benefits if this condition is severe enough to cause a joint deformity which would entitle you to benefits under:

Official Social Security Administration Medical Listing 1.02 (Symptoms)

Even though you may have a medical or psychiatric condition that has not yet been included in the official listing of impairments, you may still be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Benefits if your symptoms are sufficiently dibilitating.  While the government has not yet listed the following conditions as disabilities that will automatically enable sufferers to collect Social Security Disability benefits, you may still be eligible depending on the severity of your symptoms.

 

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the situation. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your   daily life and your ability to work according to a schedule.

Even though you may have a medical or psychiatric condition that has not yet been included in the official listing of impairments, you may still be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Benefits if your symptoms are sufficiently dibilitating.  While the government has not yet listed the following conditions as disabilities that will automatically enable sufferers to collect Social Security Disability benefits, you may still be eligible depending on the severity of your symptoms.