Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Russo and Russo social security qualify The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a specialized definition of “disability” that is very strict.  In essence, the SSA requires that you suffer from a medical condition that causes you to be unable to perform at your current or previous job and that you cannot adjust to performing other work.  Further, the disability must be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.


Attorney Colleen Russo can help you qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits in the St. Petersburg / Clearwater / Tampa Bay area.

In order to determine whether you are “disabled” as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Administration will ask five key questions:

1.  Are You Working?

The Social Security Administration will not pay Social Security disability benefits to a person who works or who’s monthly earnings are, on average, more then $940.00.

2.  Is Your Condition “Severe”?

Your medical condition must interfere with basic work-related activities in order to be considered “severe.”  Only “severe” conditions are sufficient to qualify under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict definition of “disability.”

3.  Is Your Condition Found in the List of Disabling Conditions?

The SSA maintains a master list of medical conditions that affect the major systems of the body.  These medical conditions are so severe that they are automatically considered to be disabilities by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  If your condition is not on the list, the SSA must find that your condition is of equivalent severity as those conditions found on the list in order for you to be considered disabled.  The following list includes just a few of the conditions that may qualify as a disability.  However, even if your condition is not on the list you may still qualify for benefits.  Call St. Petersburg / Clearwater Attorney Colleen Russo to discuss whether a combination of injuries or conditions may be considered severe enough to prevent you from working and qualify you to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

Our office has helped clients secure Social Security Disability benefits associated with the following illnesses, injuries and disorders:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Post traumatic stress disorder

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Spinal injuries

  • Herniated disc(s)

  • Lupus

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Colitis

  • Diabetes

  • Seizures

  • Anxiety

  • Panic disorder

  • RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)

  • Chronic heart disease

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • HIV

  • Sjogren’s syndrome

  • Bi-polar

  • Leukemia

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Stroke

  • Chronic headaches

  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

  • Blindness

  • Severe back pain

  • Cancer

  • Extreme Psoriasis involving hands & feet

  • Obesity

This list of impairments is not intended to be exhaustive. Consequently, you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits even if your condition is not listed here. 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.

Clients with a medical condition considered "critical" are processed more quickly by the Social Security Administration. An experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer can help to determine if your disability is "critical" and would therefore qualify for expedited consideration of benefits.

4.  Can You Do the Work You did Previously?

If your condition is severe, but not as severe as the other conditions found on the List of Disabling Conditions, then the Social Security Administration will determine whether your condition interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously.  If your condition does not interfere with your ability to work, you will not be considered disabled for the purposes of qualifying for Social Security Disability. 

5.  Can You Do Any Other Type of Work?

If the Social Security Administration determines that you can’t do the work you did previously, they will then inquire into your ability to adjust to other types of work.  In this respect, the Social Security Administration will take into account your age, level of education, work experience, and any transferable skills you may have.  If the Social Security Administration determines that you would be unable to adjust to other work, your claim will be approved, provided you have satisfied the other Social Security Disability qualifications.

How We Can Help

Call St. Petersburg / Clearwater Social Security Disability Lawyer Colleen Russo. She can help you through every step of the appeal process and advise you on the best possible way to pursue a favorable decision that awards you disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Links:

Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration Listing of Impairments
Social Security Association Frequently Asked Questions
Compilation of Social Security Laws
Social Security Handbook
Social Security Advisory Service
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
National Institutes of Health
Medline Plus: Disabilities, health information and resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Disability

    Do You Automatically Qualify?

Social Security Disability Russo
The following illnesses or injuries may automatically qualify you to obtain Social Security Disability Benefits. These links describe the severity of symptoms needed to automatically qualify.

  Spotlight: Obesity

An obese person may experience various impairments because of their excessive weight. Although obesity alone may not meet a listed impairment, it can often be considered in combination with other impairments to assess an individual’s ability to work.

 Spotlight: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain in muscles, and ligaments, as well as fatigue.

 Spotlight: Chronic Fatigue

Some common symptoms:

Consistent feeling of fatigue

Loss of memory

Concentration dificulty

Restless sleep

Painful, uncommonly enlarged lymph nodes in neck and armpits

Muscle tenderness or pain

Joint pain


Extreme exhaustion extending 24 hours after exercise.

 Can We Fast-Track Your Case?

Our clients who have demonstrated individual circumstances considered "critical" have been processed more quickly by the office of the Social Security Administration.  We can help to determine if your disability meets this "critical" standard and wheter you would qualify for expedited condsideration of benefits. 

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- Colleen Russo, Attorney at Law

Dedicated to Helping the Disabled

Colleen Russo
Attorney at Law

Long Standing Member,
The National Organization of Social Security  Claimants' Representatives

Free Consultations
(727) 578-0303
or 1-800-578-1970

Our Primary
St. Petersburg Office Location:

Russo & Russo, P.A.
Attorneys at Law
Corner of 9th Street N. and Gandy Blvd.
877 Executive Center Dr. West, Suite #112
St. Petersburg, FL 33702   map

Consultations also Available at:
Ulmerton Road and 58th Street North
The Summit Building
Clearwater, Florida 33760