It is a common misconception that when applying for Social Security disability benefits your application should only be for one disabling impairment. This is just not true.
If you have more than one medical condition, the Social Security Administration must take into consideration all of your impairments when deciding whether or not you qualify for disability benefits.
For example, let’s say you have a disease like arthritis which causes chronic pain, and another illness that affects your respiratory system like asthma. Or you have carpel tunnel syndrome, as well as panic disorder. While the symptoms of these diseases, on their own, may not prevent you from working, when they act together, they may be disabling.
When considering whether you qualify for benefits, Social Security first determines whether you match the medical criteria in the “Blue Book,” the Social Security’s list of disabling conditions. If an individual’s symptoms match the requirements in the listings, they will likely qualify for disability benefits. However, most disability applicants do not meet or equal a listing.
The more common course of action is that Social Security will instead look at your residual functional capability, that is, what you can still do despite your impairments. If, considering your age, education, and work experience, your conditions or combination of conditions causes you limitations that prevent you from performing any work activity, you may qualify for benefits. In other words, the number of specific diagnoses or illnesses is less important than how the actual impairments limit your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Even mild conditions—say, like anxiety around people or occasional incontinence—must be considered during a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. For this reason, any health condition which could affect your ability to work should be included in your disability application and you should receive treatment for all of your conditions, as well.
Knowledgeable and skilled legal guidance is invaluable in determining how your specific combination of impairments may qualify you for disability benefits. An easy way to get started is to contact the local attorneys at Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your situation.