It is not uncommon for a potential client to say to me, “there’s nothing wrong with my neighbor and he’s getting disability,” or “I know so many people who look fine, and are getting disability.” Many people are disabled from diseases that are invisible to others, like mental health disorders, autoimmune diseases, and even certain types of cancers. Social Security (“SS”) has a strict definition of disability. Typically, for SS to find you disabled, your doctors need to support that you are unable to work for 8 hours a day at any job, not just your own job. SS decides if you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical conditions, and if your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. To compound matters, their determination is not only based on information that they receive from your treating doctors regarding your limitations and restrictions resulting from your illness, but also from their doctors, who usually default to finding an ability to work.
You also must have enough work credits to apply for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. If you do not, then you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), which follows the same medical requirements as SSD, but requires you to meet certain financial criteria to be eligible.
The bottom line is, just because a person does not look like what you think a disabled person should look like, does not mean that they are not disabled under SS’s definition. It is not easy to get approved for SSD or SSI. That is why it is highly recommended that you retain an attorney who specializes in disability and has experience with SS, and statistics show legal representation results in a significantly higher approval rate. Our office offers free phone consultations, and we have offices on Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
By Susan GoldenPrevious Next
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