A medical vocational allowance is a way to get approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To get this allowance, and thus get approved for benefits, you must prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your disability causes such severe functional limitations that you cannot work and earn a living.
There are two ways to get approved for SSDI or SSI. The first—and easiest—is to meet all the criteria for a Blue Book listing and provide the SSA with medical evidence proving your condition qualifies for benefits. This is not a common way to get approved, however, as the listed criteria for many conditions in the Blue Book are extensive and hard to meet.
The other path to approval is to seek a medical vocational allowance for Social Security Disability and SSI cases. A disability attorney from the Disability Advantage Group, can guide you through the application process, making sure you have all the evidence and supporting documentation you need to qualify for monthly benefits. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call 865-566-0800 today.
How Can I Get Disability Benefits Based on a Medical Vocational Allowance?
Disability is an all-or-nothing proposition, meaning there is no such thing as partial disability. No matter what method we use to get you approved, we must demonstrate to the SSA that you are incapable of substantial gainful employment. Specifically, we have to prove two things.
First, we must provide documentation showing that, due to your disabling medical condition, you are unable to continue at your previous job. This includes your most recent occupation and, potentially, any job you worked during the 15 years leading up to your disability.
For instance, if you were most recently working a construction job, but you have previous bookkeeping experience, you might not qualify for disability for an injury that prevents you from doing physical construction work. If the SSA determines you can return to bookkeeping without undue hardship, it might expect you to do so.
The second point we have to show is your disability prevents you from doing any work that your education, experience, and skill set might qualify you to do. That could include jobs you have not done before. Proving these two conditions requires medical evidence and an extensive catalog of your work history for the last 15 years.
How Does the SSA Decide If I Qualify for a Medical Vocational Allowance?
The SSA decides if you qualify for a medical vocational allowance based on the extent of the functional limitations your condition presents. In other words, the SSA wants to determine to what degree your condition prevents you from working and carrying out other activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and getting around.
Physical, mental, and emotional conditions can all cause functional limitations. A physical limitation might prevent you from remaining on your feet for long periods, climbing stairs, or bearing weight. With a mental or cognitive limitation, you might be unable to handle the intellectual demands of the work you were doing before. If you have an emotional impairment, you might find it impossible to work in social settings or to concentrate on the demands of your job.
How do we prove your impairment is severe enough to keep you out of work? The most effective way is with a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) exam. This test provides a comprehensive look at your functional limitations and offers a specific and objective analysis. For instance, if you cannot remain standing more than 90 seconds at a time or you have difficulty concentrating on cognitive tasks for more than a minute, your RFC will document these limitations.
A big benefit of the RFC exam is that, rather than being a uniform test, it can be specific to your condition and line of work. That way, it measures exactly how your disability affects your ability to do the type of jobs you have the qualifications to perform.
How Can I Win a Medical Vocational Allowance?
Above all, the evidence we compile to back up your claim must be thorough. You need to see your treating physician regularly, never miss appointments, and follow through with anything your doctor tells you. If you fail to do so, you will make your condition appear less urgent to the SSA.
The more thorough your work history—dating back 15 years—the better. The person who examines your claim compares your work history to a database of available jobs. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for that person to rule out jobs based on your functional limitations.
How Can I Get Help With My Claim?
If you have additional questions, the attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can help. Call us at 865-566-0800 to schedule a free consultation.