Many disability applicants have trouble proving the extent of their condition to the Social Security Administration (SSA). For some applicants, the trouble is not how much evidence they have, it is choosing which condition to list on their benefit application. If you have many different conditions that can be considered disabling, should you list them all, or just pick the one that is causing you the most distress?
How to File for Social Security Disability if You Have Multiple Medical Conditions
The truth is that many applicants are prevented from working due to a combination of several different medical conditions. It is vital that you list all of your physical and mental impairments on your application for benefits, including those that may seem like minor complaints. This is because the SSA is required to evaluate your disability as a whole when approving benefits, including the combined effects of major and minor impairments.
Social Security Uses the Following Process to Determine the Combined Effects of Your Impairments:
- Are you able to work? The first step in awarding benefits is to determine whether you can perform substantial, gainful activity. If you are able to earn over a certain amount per month (this amount is raised every year, but was $1,090 in 2015), you will likely not qualify for benefits.
- Are your impairments severe? Social Security will rely on the medical evidence you provide with your application to determine whether your impairment (or combination of impairments) can be considered severe. To be approved for benefits, your impairment must be severe enough to interfere with your ability to perform daily work-related tasks. Physical limitations can include sitting, walking, lifting, or carrying objects, while mental limitations can include the inability to pay attention, understand complex directions, or interact with co-workers.
- Is the combination of your impairments severe? If each of your medical conditions is not severe enough to qualify you for disability, you may be able to get benefits if the combination of your conditions causes significant impairment. For instance, if you have an anxiety disorder and sleep apnea, you may suffer from chronic insomnia that can severely limit your working ability. In order to show the limitations and interactions of each of your impairments, you must send all of your medical records (including doctor’s opinions and summaries) to the Social Security Administration with your application.
- Does your impairment meet or equal a Blue Book listing? Next, Social Security will determine whether your severe combination of impairments matches one of the disability listings in the SSA’s “Blue Book.” In some cases, Social Security may decide that multiple conditions that do not each qualify for benefits will “equal” a listing when taken in to consideration together.
- Are you able to perform other work? Finally, Social Security will look at your ability to perform other work in order to make a determination as to whether you are disabled.
Your approval for multiple conditions relies heavily on the medical evidence you supply to SSA. A professional opinion from one of your treating sources detailing your work limitations can go a long way toward getting your benefits approved. At Cuddigan Law, our Social Security disability attorneys can help you present the strongest possible case and get you the monthly payments you deserve. Fill out the short help form on this page to have one of our staff members contact you.