If you have recently been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, you may be considering if applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is right for you. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for these benefits, as not every medical condition is eligible for SSDI or SSI. But if that’s the case, then how do you know if your medical condition lets you qualify?
Defining a Disability Under the Law
In general terms, a disability is any medical condition that is so severe that it causes substantial impairment in a person’s ability to accomplish their daily tasks. This includes both physical conditions and psychological conditions, including any conditions that do not have a specific medical diagnosis. The key factor in determining whether a person has a disability is how severe it is, not whether it fits any known medical diagnosis.
When is a Medical Condition Severe Enough to Be a Disability?
A medical condition is considered a disability if it becomes bad enough that someone can no longer maintain regular employment or perform basic tasks, such as feeding or dressing themselves. This could be the result of literally being unable to move sufficiently to accomplish these tasks, or it could be the result of a severe psychological impairment that hinders a person’s ability to make themselves perform these tasks. Whether physical or psychological, the key is that inability to function independently in either a personal or professional capacity.
How Can Someone Get Disqualified From SSDI or SSI Benefits?
There are a few ways you might be disqualified from getting SSDI or SSI benefits, even if you have a severe disability. First, you can be disqualified if you have not sought medical attention for your condition, despite an ability to do so. Second, if you have seen a medical professional but have failed to follow their prescribed treatments, you can still be denied benefits. This is because a condition that can be successfully managed through medical treatment is not considered a qualifying disability.
How Can I Get My Medical Condition Evaluated?
Unfortunately, a private doctor cannot diagnose your condition on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to get you disability benefits. Instead, you must be evaluated by Disability Determination Services (DDS), who performs all medical evaluations for the SSA. To get to that point, though, you must first begin the application process, which can be long and complicated. Thus, you may want to speak to a lawyer with knowledge of Social Security disability law, who can advise you on your best course of action.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.