When it comes to being successful with your application for Social Security disability benefits, you (with the help of your disability attorney) have the burden of showing that you meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Basically, that means demonstrating that you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity as a result of a medical or mental health condition. You must also show that your qualifying condition is fatal or that it either has lasted for 12 consecutive months or is expected to.
Ways to prove that you meet the definition of disability
Our disability attorney explains that there are three basic ways to prove that you meet the definition of disability established by the Social Security Administration: (1) meeting a Social Security listing, (2) fitting within a “grid rule,” or (3) proving that your ability to function in a simple, entry-level job is significantly compromised by your condition that you could not reasonably be a reliable employee. However, the easiest and quickest way to be approved for Social Security disability benefits is by meeting a listing.
Why meeting an SSA listing is the best method
There a number of reasons why meeting a listing is the easiest way to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA listings provide a description of what the agency considers serious medical problems. If you condition meetings one of the conditions listed, then the SSA will assume that your capacity to work is compromised. In that case, you will not be required to offer substantial proof regarding your work capacity.
Social Security adjudicators are not attorneys
Another thing to consider is that the individuals who will be evaluating your claim and reviewing your application or appeal are not attorneys or judges. They are government employees who are trained much like an insurance claims adjuster would be. This typically means they look for “magic words” that indicate your condition fits within the definition of disability established by the SSA.
Meeting a listing often results in a quicker decision
Considering that a claim that does not fit within a listing can take 3 years or more to even be scheduled for a hearing, it is clear that being able to establish your condition fits within the SSA listing is more beneficial. In most cases, those applications are processed within four or five months. Statistically speaking a little more than a third of disability claims are approved upon the initial application.
Common characteristics of conditions that meet the listing
As our disability attorney has seen, claims that meet the SSA’s listing usually have a few characteristics in common. For example, these claims are supported by a consistent record of treatment with a specialist. Also, the medical records will establish that the patient has complied with the suggested treatment, but that treatment has not been able to successfully restore functioning. With regard to work, the documents confirm that the patient has been unable to work for at least 12 consecutive months and there is no evidence of part-time work.
These characteristics apply to conditions that are not life-threatening or life-limiting. However, the SSA also has a list of what is referred to as “compassionate allowance” conditions which are life-limiting or life-threatening conditions that usually result in immediate approval.
Where to find the conditions that meet the SSA listing
In order to begin analyzing your particular disability claim, you need to first refer to the SSA listing to see if you qualify. Your disability attorney can help you make this determination, but if you want to review the listing you can find it here. The SSA listing is divided into the 14 body systems, under which there are specific medical conditions that could qualify if you have test results and diagnoses that support your claim.
Obtaining your physician’s support
One essential component of your Social Security disability claim is the supporting documentation from your physician. This should include not only his or her letter of support but also copies of your relevant medical records. If you provide this documentation as quickly as possible, preferably along with your application, and reference the applicable SSA listing in your application, your chances of success will improve.
If you have questions regarding disability listings or any other Social Security Disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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