At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, our focus is on helping our clients win disability benefits when an injury or medical condition makes it difficult or impossible to continue sustaining meaningful, gainful employment. Let us help you get disability for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
While GERD—a chronic condition affecting the esophagus and stomach—is often manageable with diet, medication, and lifestyle changes, in some cases it can lead to more serious, disabling issues that take away your ability to work and make a living. In such situations, you deserve disability benefits.
These benefits, however, are notoriously difficult to get. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which administers the benefits, maintains high standards and scrutinizes each case closely, looking for anything that might disqualify an applicant.
To have a good chance of receiving an approval, you must ensure that your application is compelling and thorough. It needs to feature substantial evidence showing not only that you have the condition, but also the specific ways that the condition impacts your ability to work and carry out activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and so forth.
We can help you submit a strong, compelling application—one that reveals the true extent of your condition how it has damaged your capacity to work.
The accomplished legal team at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, have helped many clients win disability benefits. We can put our resources to work for you. To set up a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at 866-628-8179.
How Do I Qualify for Disability?
Qualifying for disability requires you to meet several criteria. Your condition must meet the criteria for one of the SSA’s Blue Book listings of approved conditions, or you must demonstrate with evidence that your condition is functionally equivalent to a Blue Book condition in how it limits you.
The Blue Book is the SSA’s official listing of medical impairments that qualify for disability. If you have an impairment listed in the Blue Book, you can usually qualify for benefits if your diagnosis and symptoms meet the criteria under the listing for your condition.
If your condition is not listed, or your diagnosis and symptoms do not meet the listed criteria, you cannot qualify based on the Blue Book alone. Instead, you must use other evidence to show that your condition is functionally equivalent to a Blue Book listing.
Getting disability for GERD is not easy. Since the condition is treatable with diet, lifestyle changes, and medication, the SSA rarely grants benefits based on a GERD diagnosis alone. In fact, GERD is not listed as a disabling condition in the Blue Book.
However, if we can show that you qualify under a Blue Book listing for a related condition, you may still qualify for benefits. Conditions like esophageal cancer or asthma, for example, are qualifying impairments. If your GERD is severe enough to require surgery, we may be able to convince the SSA that it is disabling.
If your GERD causes tightening in the throat—called esophageal stricture—severe enough to cause significant weight loss, you may qualify for benefits under Listing 5.08 in the Blue Book.
What If I Do Not Meet a Blue Book Listing?
Another option we have is using a residual functional capacity (RFC) test to show how GERD impacts your daily life. The RFC test offers us another way to prove you qualify for benefits, even if you do not meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing.
This is a test that your doctor completes, populating it with information about your diagnosis, symptoms, medication, and other observations describing the physical, mental, or emotional damages your condition presents.
A well-crafted RFC test can be just as effective as the Blue Book in terms of providing evidence that you meet the SSA’s requirements for benefits.
Are There Other Requirements for Disability?
Based on which disability program you are applying for, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must also meet specific work or income requirements to qualify.
The SSDI program receives its funding from payroll taxes. Only disabled workers who have paid into the system can draw benefits. To receive SSDI, you must have a sufficient work history and the right number of work credits based on your age. You must also earn below the SSA’s substantial gainful activity income limit. For 2017, this limit is $1,170 per month.
To qualify for SSI, a means-tested program for the needy, you must have an annual income and total assets that both fall below a certain threshold. Your family size and geographic area can impact precisely what this limit is. In many cases, you cannot make more than $735 per month and still qualify for the SSI program.
Our attorneys can help you determine which program you qualify for and help you apply. We will examine your finances and work history to see if you meet the requirements for SSDI or SSI benefits.
What If I Have Already Received a Denial for Benefits?
If the SSA rejected your claim, we welcome you to bring in your denial, along with the evidence you submitted with your initial application, to your free consultation with our legal team. We will review your case and determine why your initial application was not successful. Our team has worked enough disability cases that we know what works and what does not. We can put our knowledge and successful track record to work for you.
Are You Ready to Get Started? Call Us for a Free Consultation.
The team at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, looks forward to meeting you. We are ready to help you win the benefits you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 866-628-8179.