Hundreds of different physical or mental health issues can make a person eligible for disability benefits if the condition meets the severity test and other requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, not all disabilities are approved immediately by the SSA.
Even people with a significant illness or injury that prevents them from working can get denied benefits on the initial application if they do not know the intricacies of the substantive rules and the administrative process. There are multiple levels of appeal available, but working with a Texas disability attorney beginning early in the process can make things go smoother and get your benefits to you without the delays of appeals caused by failing to provide all the necessary information and documents.
Most Common Approved Disabilities
These are some of the top diseases or injuries that get approved for disability benefits:
- Cancer. While the most common types of cancer are skin cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, other forms of cancer could qualify for disability benefits. The issue is not the type of cancer, but whether it is so severe that it keeps them from supporting themselves through gainful employment due to pain or mobility limitations. Also, the side effects of cancer treatment can cause a person to be unable to work.
- Arthritis. Millions of adults and children have one or more of the many types of arthritis. If your arthritis causes you to experience chronic pain, stiffness, swelling, or severe functional impairment, you might qualify for disability benefits.
- Paralysis. A person can develop paralysis from a disease, like multiple sclerosis or a tumor on the spinal cord, or from an injury. People often think of paralysis as affecting the arms or legs, but this symptom can also affect the face, bladder, bowels, or sexual function. Becoming paralyzed can lead to other conditions, like chronic depression.
- Degenerative disc disease. Osteoarthritis in the spine can develop into a disabling condition. Trying to perform job tasks can cause the person significant pain. When a person cannot move or function as they used to, they can become unemployable. This disease can cause soreness, inflammation, numbness in the arms and legs, and pain in the back and neck. Degenerative disc disease is a progressive condition, which means that it usually continues to worsen over time.
- Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease originates in the central nervous system. This disease is progressive, and there is no cure yet. Patients can have the characteristic tremors that make it difficult to perform tasks with their hands. It can be challenging to maintain balance or coordinate the limbs to work together to walk and perform other functions. As the disease progresses, the person can develop cognitive impairment.
Having one of these conditions does not guarantee disability benefits. An applicant must show through acceptable medical documentation that the disease or injury is severe enough to prevent the person from working enough to self-support. Also, one must meet the other requirements of the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits.
Navigating the SSDI and SSI Programs
There are two disability benefits programs that the SSA administers. The SSDI program can pay benefits to people whose disability prevents them from working, who paid into the Social Security system through taxes on their paychecks (work credits), and who do not exceed the earnings limit.
The SSI program does not require an applicant to have accumulated work credit, but to get approved for SSI benefits, one must have very low income and few financial resources, in addition to the same requirement of severity that the SSDI program uses. Both programs require the disability to last for at least one year or to be terminal.
A Texas disability attorney can help you navigate the disability benefits program and advocate on your behalf so that you can focus on your health and well-being. Contact us today.