If you are suffering from a severe medical or psychological condition, you may be wondering if you might be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, not everyone with a condition that might be considered a disability will be legally eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). So what exactly is it that makes a person “disabled” in the eyes of the SSA?
Defining What it Means to Be Disabled
Legally speaking, being disabled is not simply a matter of having a severe physical or psychological disorder. Specifically, your condition must be so severe that you are incapable of performing daily chores or supporting yourself through gainful employment. If your condition can be managed through medical treatment or mitigated by reasonable accommodations from your employer, it is not considered a disability.
Types of Conditions That Can Be Disabilities
In theory, any medical condition can be a disability if it is severe enough to substantially impair a person’s ability to function in their daily lives. This includes more conventional physical disabilities such as paraplegia, deafness, or blindness, but also things like recurring migraines, heart disease, and cancer. Severe psychological conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also result in someone being considered disabled.
What Can Get You Excluded from SSDI/SSI Benefits
That being said, there are a few ways that someone might have a sufficiently severe medical condition and still not be considered disabled under the law. For example, someone with a severe medical condition who has not sought treatment, or who has refused to follow their doctor’s recommended treatment, will likely be denied disability benefits. In addition, even if a person’s medical condition is severe, they can be denied benefits if they make enough money to be self-sufficient, thus eliminating the need for benefits.
How to Know if You Are Eligible
If you are uncertain about whether you might qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, the best thing you can do is speak to a lawyer with knowledge of the Social Security disability application process. They can help you to fill out your application to minimize the risk of potential errors, and guide you through the process of interviews and examinations necessary to obtain those benefits. That is why, if you do not know if you would be considered legally disabled, you should speak to a Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible.
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.