What You Need to Prove You Have a Disability for SS Benefits

If you have a medical condition that significantly hampers your ability to handle daily tasks or impairs your ability to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, you need to sufficiently prove your medical condition is bad enough to legally qualify as a disability. But how do you go about proving that your medical condition is bad enough to merit getting disability benefits?

  1. Medical records
    • The first part of demonstrating you have a disability is to procure your medical records, which demonstrate you have a severe medical condition. This can be either a physiological condition or a psychological condition, provided it is sufficiently bad to impair your daily life activities. If you do not have medical records to demonstrate you have a severe medical condition, you are unlikely to be approved for disability benefits.
  2. Evidence of impairment
    • Medical records are only the first step. You must also be able to explain exactly how your condition impairs your ability to function in day-to-day life. For example, you must be able to show how you are unable to perform a job due to leg paralysis, or you must be able to explain how a diagnosed psychological condition impairs your ability to do daily chores. If you cannot do this, you are likely to have your benefits denied.
  3. Compliance with medical advice
    • It is not enough to have a medically verified condition that substantially impairs you. You must also show that you sought out medical treatment for your condition, and have complied with medical advice on how to treat your condition. This means going through any recommended treatments or procedures, and taking all prescribed medication. Failing to adhere to your doctor’s medical treatment may indicate to the SSA that your condition is not bad enough to be considered a disability, since it might get better if appropriately treated.
  4. Lack of income
    • The principal purpose of Social Security disability benefits is to compensate for income lost due to an inability to work. That is why there is a maximum amount of income you can make on a monthly basis and still be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you earn more money than that maximum, the assumption is that you are able to care for your own needs and do not need disability benefits.
  5. DDS evaluation
    • Finally, you must be able to pass a medical evaluation by Disability Determination Services (DDS). This semi-independent state agency evaluates all applicants for Social Security disability benefits to determine if they meet the appropriate criteria for a disability under the law. If you fail to meet their standards, you will not be approved for SS disability benefits.

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.

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