Severity of illness crucial when pursuing SSDI benefits

by Jun 27, 2015

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People who are seeking disability benefits generally understand that there are several criteria that must be met in order for an application to be successful. The condition must be properly diagnosed and appear on the list of impairments developed by the Social Security Administration. An applicant must also have paid a certain amount in Social Security to receive benefits.

But even if all these requirements are met, a claim for disability benefits can still be denied if an administrative judge determines that a condition is not severe enough to qualify for disability.

In an article that appears on our website, we discussed a specific case involving woman who was denied benefits because it was determined that her conditions — psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis — were not severe enough to categorize her as disabled.

However, the condition worsened over time and she continued to pursue benefits even though her application had been denied three times. Finally, the Sixth Circuit got involved and reviewed the latest denial.

Ultimately, it was ruled that her condition was in fact severe enough to qualify as disabling and previous rulings failed to take into account the entirety of the woman’s situation and the overall progression. Instead, earlier judges had put too much importance on “periodic instances of improvement.”

This case should serve as a reminder of two things. First, it can be crucial that applicants stay persistent and not lose hope in the event that an application is denied. There are options for appeals that can lead to a much more favorable outcome. Second, it highlights the importance of proving severity. In many cases, this is shown through medical histories, courses of treatment and medical evaluations conducted by a treating source.

In order to prepare for this process and these challenges, it can be a good idea to discuss your case with an attorney. Legal representation can be quite helpful in the preparation of your application and the filing of an appeal, if necessary.