Do some conditions make it harder to qualify for SSDI benefits?

The Social Security Administration maintains a listing of conditions that may qualify for disability benefits. In theory, any enumerated physical or mental impairment should present an equal chance of obtaining Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income payments. Yet the process — and odds of success — may vary quite a bit, depending on the specific condition cited in the disability application.

Although it may be unfair, even the media has pointed out causes of SSDI fraud involving so-called “invisible” conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic pain. Yet a layperson’s perception of disability should never be a substitute for a doctor’s. Chronic conditions may not be as visible as broken bones or external injuries, but they can be equally as debilitating.

Fortunately, the process of preparing an SSDI application typically involves the submission of extensive medical records, rather than the verdict of public opinion. For conditions that are diagnosed by multiple factors, submitting records of treatment visits, a journal of symptoms and past medications, and other contextual evidence can be very important. Diagnostic testing, such as X-rays, CT scans or MRI results, can also be persuasive. 

Finally, a consultation with an attorney may also avoid potentially troublesome areas and strengthen an application. For example, an SSDI applicant might not realize that a disability examiner will consider all symptoms that might prevent him or her from working, even if those symptoms relate to conditions outside the primary diagnosis. Conditions like anxiety, chronic pain or clinical depression often accompany so-called invisible conditions, and the cumulative impact may indeed be debilitating.

Related post: “Disability benefits for “invisible” conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic pain,” copyright 2016, Ogle, Elrod and Baril, PLLC