To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must have a disabling medical condition that prevents you from working. In other words, you must be fully disabled and out of the workforce to qualify for benefits.
On a broad scale, the medical requirements for receiving Social Security Disability or SSI are fairly straightforward. You are either fully disabled and eligible for benefits, or you are not fully disabled and will receive a denial. Unlike the VA system, which awards benefits to veterans on a sliding scale of disability, the SSA does not recognize partial disability.
The challenge of winning SSDI or SSI is not in navigating the medical requirements, but in proving you meet them. There are two ways to do this. The first is to meet a Blue Book listing. The Blue Book is a master list of medical conditions [In Progress: link to https://socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/is-there-a-list-of-conditions-that-might-qualify-you-for-disability-benefits/] that qualify for benefits.
Most applicants, however, cannot meet the Blue Book criteria, even when they have a diagnosed condition that appears in the list. Instead, they must try to get a medical vocational allowance [In Progress: Link to https://socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-is-the-medical-vocational-allowance-for-social-security-disability-and-ssi-cases/], which the SSA grants to applicants who can prove that due to their condition, working and earning enough to live is impossible.
Before you begin the application process, it is a good idea to meet with a disability attorney from the Disability Advantage Group. We can review your medical records and, based on what we find, recommend a course of action. If you are like most disability applicants, meaning you fall short of a Blue Book listing, we can help with the process of applying for a medical vocational allowance.
Our team focuses on Social Security disability law. This includes helping our clients win benefits for a variety of conditions. No matter how unique the circumstances of your situation are, we can handle it. To set up a free consultation with one of our team members, call 865-566-0800.
How Do I Meet a Blue Book Listing?
By meeting all the criteria of a Blue Book listing, you can bypass the need to gather subjective evidence and plead your case for a medical vocational allowance. The criteria for most listings, though, are extensive, complex, and difficult to satisfy.
The first step is to determine if the Blue Book lists your diagnosed condition. Hundreds of conditions are in the Blue Book, which groups them based on the body system they affect. For instance, the list includes conditions that impact:
- The musculoskeletal system;
- The senses;
- The respiratory system;
- The cardiovascular system;
- The digestive tract;
- The neurological system;
- The hematological system;
- Mental and cognitive abilities; and
- The immune system.
Assuming your condition is on the list, it will feature a separate list of criteria you must meet to get approved. These could include lab test values—such as a blood count—the length of time you have had the condition, a specific loss of function—such as the use of a limb—and so forth.
You can get approved by providing medical proof that you meet the criteria. Otherwise—whether you have a Blue Book condition but do not meet the criteria or you have a condition not listed in the Blue Book—you must seek approval via another method.
What Is the Medical Vocational Allowance?
A medical vocational allowance offers the most effective way to get approved for SSDI or SSI if you do not meet a Blue Book listing. The SSA grants this allowance if it has sufficient evidence that the functional limitations of your condition are severe enough to keep you from working.
Fortunately, we have a specific tool available, called the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test, to show your condition prevents you from working. The RFC test measures your limitations objectively and it is specific to your condition and line of work.
For example, imagine you work in construction. The RFC test can reveal the specific ways—and to what degree—your condition keeps you from doing construction work. If you cannot lift more than 20 pounds overhead and you have difficulty remaining on your feet for more than 10 minutes at a time, your RFC will show your condition prevents you from working at a job you qualify for.
To win a medical vocational allowance, you need to have a thorough and compelling RFC test. We can guide you through this process, making sure the test reveals the full extent to which your condition functionally impairs you.
How Can I Talk to a Disability Attorney About My Claim?
A disability lawyer from the Disability Advantage Group, can guide you through the often complicated process of applying for disability. We want to get you the benefits you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 865-566-0800.