When seeking to qualify for either SSDI or SSI, you will be required to prove your disability. Even when the claim seems like it would be obvious and straightforward. You must remember that only about 30% of all claims initially presented to the SSA are denied. This is one reason why Social Security claims can be so frustrating if you are pursuing it by yourself. Which is why many people opt to work with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer.
Disability As Defined By The Social Security Administration
The Social Security Administration has a very clear definition of a disability. If you are only partially or temporarily disabled, you will not be able to claim SSDI or SSI benefits. So, you must show that:
- You cannot do the work you did previously, due to the disability
- You are unable to do change occupations or do other work due to the disability
- The disability will last longer than a year or is anticipated to result in death
If you are able to meet these criteria, you will not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity. This qualification can be revoked if you earn too much income in a month.
Collect And Organize Your Medical Records
Common claim denials result from the failure of the applicant to provide sufficient medical documentation as evidence of the disability. Spending some time developing your medical documentation can help you prove your disability during the first review period.
The Social Security Administration will need to see records of your disability going back to when it was first discovered. This is known as your disability onset date. This can be difficult to determine for some conditions, so leverage family and friends if needed.
Your doctors can be a priceless resource. Your medical care team should be able to provide you with the records or documentation you need. If necessary, they may also be able to furnish a mental health assessment to be presented to the SSA. Make sure you adhere to your doctor’s directives for treatment as well. If you don’t, the SSA may deny your claim for lack of consistent treatment.
Make Sure You Meet The Requirements
Any disability can be challenging to prove. This can be especially true for those seeking benefits for mental illnesses or conditions. Some will be significant or severe enough that the Social Security Administration will simply grant the benefits. The conditions that qualify someone for SSDI or SSI benefits are detailed in the Blue Book. The Blue Book contains all of the criteria for qualification based on medical diagnosis.
Some conditions may be severe enough that the SSA will only need limited medical documentation. For example, arthritis, asthma, and heart disease. Some conditions will require more rigorous proof, such as mental disorders. Mental disorder claimants will need to meet various criteria that are designed for their particular mental disorder category, such as anxiety or psychosis.