Published on: November 5, 2014
Applying for disability and its benefits through the Social Security Administration can often become a lengthy, overwhelming process of medical visitations, tedious paperwork and frustrating phone calls.
In these cases, much of the stress of applying for disability stems from the myriad of small, interconnected medical factors used as evidence, and how they complement your disability claims and other evidential documentation (such as paperwork evidence of your working history, and lifetime contributions to the Social Security program through tax credits).
When it comes to getting the aid through Social Security disability that you need, that can help you maintain quality of life despite disabling conditions and their effects on your ability to work, one of the biggest challenges is understanding how medical consultations and evidence are used to determine your eligibility.
Here, we will outline how support for a disability decision is made with regard to medical documentation, as well as what you can do to ensure you get the benefits you need following the onset of a disability.
Base Medical Requirements for Social Security Benefits
To receive supplementary income and benefits through the Social Security Administration’s disability program, applicants must first meet certain eligibility requirements; specifically, regarding their capacity to work with their disability and the perceived extent and severity of their condition (with medical proof from a reputable professional or agency).
For disability benefits through the SSA, applicants will have to be afflicted with conditions expected to last at least (or have already lasted) one year in duration, which also significantly inhibit their ability to work (and earn) in the same capacity as prior to the onset of their condition. Temporary illnesses or injuries are not enough, to qualify one for benefits through the program.
To determine medical eligibility, the SSA will first analyze your condition as officially diagnosed by a reputable medical source, and see if it meets conditions and qualifications listed in the administration’s Blue Book, which is essentially the reference guide the SSA uses internally to classify what is and isn’t disability.
The SSA’s Blue Book categorizes eligible disabilities to all bodily systems, such as immune system deficiencies, neural system functions and skin disorders. Beyond merely meeting these disabilities with your condition, the circumstances must be severe enough to actively prevent you from working.
What is a “Reputable Source?”
When applying for disability, applicants are required to present ample and thorough documentation on their unique condition as diagnosed and monitored by a licensed, reputable medical professional or service. But what differentiates between, say, a licensed nurse practitioner and a walk-in clinic?
In the case of disability benefits, where you receive your diagnosis from can play a part in your application for aid. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration clearly lists what it defines as “acceptable” medical sources, and they are as follows:
- Licensed physicians (doctors)
- Licensed podiatrists; professional sources for all injuries, impairments and disabilities regarding to the foot, or foot and ankle.
- Qualified speech pathologists; these experts can either be state licensed, or certified by a state education agency or the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. These sources are critical for speech and language disabilities.
- Licensed optometrists; required sources for most visual disabilities, most notably full or partial blindness.
- Licensed psychologists; these can include school psychologists, and are necessary sources for intellectual disability claims and mental impairment benefits.
Beyond these professional medical resources, applicants must present evidence and reports from health facilities in which they have received treatment; such facilities include hospitals and clinics.
The more evidence you have in support of your disability, the greater your overall chances will be of receiving crucial financial benefits.
When it comes to benefits through the SSA’s disability program, it doesn’t matter if your disability will dissipate in a few years’ time; all that matters is that your condition will last at least one year, and that it currently prevents you from working.
In many cases, the best thing an applicant can do when seeking disability benefits through the SSA is contact a professional disability consultation service to guide and organize their application. These professionals can greatly improve one’s chances of getting the benefits they need following a disability, and are often the greatest asset available to applicants in during the processing of a disability application.
When it comes to getting benefits for your condition, don’t go about it alone, and risk seeing your application fail for unnecessary reasons (such as insufficient information). Contact a disability expert today to better your chances and see the results (and support) you need.