I Can’t Find My Condition
The search for help following an injury or diagnosis of disability can be exhausting. One of the most helpful and commonly used resources for benefits is the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI).
You may be wondering: does my injury or disability qualify me for SSDI?
The Social Security Administration provides a lengthy “List of Impairments” which identifies medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits. You can check this list to see if it includes your condition. Be aware, however, that this is not a comprehensive guide. Many people incorrectly doubt their chances for benefits when they can’t find their condition on this list.
You can still qualify even if your condition is not specifically listed.
If you have trouble finding your condition on the list, don’t be discouraged. You can still qualify even if your condition is not specifically listed. The SSA is not only interested in what your disability is, but also in how it affects your day-to-day life. If your condition is severe enough to keep you out of work for at least 12 months, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Does Having an Unlisted Condition Hurt My Chances?
Having an unlisted condition does not automatically disqualify you from benefits. But it can have the potential to make your case more challenging. In order to receive SSDI benefits, you must demonstrate that you have a medically legitimate and limiting disability.
Medical records and medical testing help demonstrate and identify disabilities. The biggest problem with most unlisted conditions is a lack of specific diagnostic testing. This means that there is no clear-cut way to identify your condition. Without diagnostic tests, it is difficult to demonstrate your medical condition; but this problem is not without solutions.
One Possible Solution
One way to demonstrate your condition more effectively is to identify which conditions you don’t have. Undergoing diagnostic tests for conditions with similar side effects can help doctors whittle down the possibilities for your diagnosis.
In a way, several smaller tests become one large diagnosis — helping you demonstrate what your condition is and how it affects you in a unique way. For example:
- The side effects of your condition may cause it to seem like multiple sclerosis, but some characteristics necessary for an MS diagnosis are lacking.
- By taking other tests, you can more accurately portray what kind of medical condition you have.
The Important Next Steps
Once you have some diagnostic information, your next step should be to continually document with your doctor how your condition is affecting you and what your symptoms are. The more specific you can be, the better.
If, for example, you have MS or something similar, you will want to do the following:
- Explain to your doctor that you experience seizures 2-3 times per week that last about 30 minutes each.
- Explain that these seizures require 4-5 hours of recovery time.
- Record the nature of these seizures, making sure to note how they affect things like your sight and hearing.
- An accurate record allows you to give good information to your doctor during appointments.
- Always be as specific as possible when providing information about your disability, whether it’s with your doctor or with the SSA.
Also, be sure to describe how your symptoms affect your ability to work. For example, seizures could prevent you from completing everyday tasks. Such as:
- Climbing stairs
Your condition could also put you at a constant risk of falling or otherwise becoming injured.
Keep a record at home of the things you have trouble lifting, how far you can walk before you need to rest, how long you can stand, etc.
Keeping track of what happens to you in between medical appointments is the kind of specificity that must be included in your medical records. Remember, millions of people attempt to claim Social Security benefits every year. Without legitimate and consistent evidence, your case will go nowhere.
Things Not to Do
Many Social Security disability claimants believe that their condition is so bad, the case will be a no-brainer. However, they often have little to no medical evidence. There are many reasons for this:
- Perhaps the most common is a lack of funds, which prevents the person from receiving proper care and a diagnosis.
- A high pain tolerance and the need to keep working may simply have caused them to push through for too long without seeking medical help.
Without medical evidence from a PhD, an M.D., or a D.O., you will not be able to make a successful claim. The SSA will not recognize providers such as physician’s assistants, chiropractors, or social workers. To gather the proper medical evidence a credentialed professional must treat you. If for some reason this is impossible, the SSA will consider any remaining evidence, but your chances of winning will decrease dramatically.
If you have questions about the information in this page or Social Security disability benefits, we want to answer them. We are experienced in disability law and dedicated to serving our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation or request a free copy of our book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook.