Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people with disabilities. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and there are eligibility requirements to qualify for benefits. When an individual applies for SSDI benefits, the SSA collects medical and other information to determine whether the individual meets the SSA’s definition of “disability.”
Disability and Disabling Conditions
Under Social Security law, a disability is defined as the inability to engage in any “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) because of a physical or mental impairment (or impairments) that a) can be expected to result in death, b) can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or c) has already lasted for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
Social Security requires that an individual’s physical or mental impairment (or impairments) result from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically accepted clinical and laboratory techniques. This means that there must be medical evidence that supports the individual’s statements about the disabling condition. The medical evidence can include documentation of the individual’s symptoms, medical signs, and laboratory findings.
List of Impairments
Social Security has created a Listing of Impairments (also called The Blue Book), which describes, for each major system of the body, the impairments that may be considered severe enough to prevent an individual from performing any gainful employment. An individual may suffer from more than one impairment, and the total effect of the impairments may result in a qualifying disability for SSD purposes.
Part A of the Listing of Impairments contains the medical standards that are used to evaluate impairments in adults who are age 18 and older. They include:
- Musculoskeletal system disorders – this can include dysfunctions of the joint(s), disorders of the spine, amputations, nerve problems in the upper or lower body, and burns, among other disorders.
- Special senses and speech – these include vision, speech, and hearing disorders.
- Respiratory system – these disorders include lung problems, such as asthma, pulmonary insufficiency, cystic fibrosis, lung transplant, and sleep-related breathing disorders, among others.
- Cardiovascular system – this includes heart failure, heart disease, heart transplant, and coronary artery disease, as well as other heart-related disorders.
- Digestive system – these disorders include disorders of the liver and bowel.
- Genitourinary disorders – these include genital and kidney disorders.
- Hematologic disorders – these include sickle cell disease, anemia, and other blood-related disorders.
- Skin disorders – including burns and other disorders.
- Endocrine disorders – including diabetes, thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, and adrenal gland disorders.
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems – including Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.
- Neurological disorders – including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, spinal cord and nerve root injuries or disorders, and others.
- Mental disorders – including depression, schizoaffective disorders, anxiety-related disorders, substance abuse disorders, autistic disorders, and others.
- Malignant neoplastic disease – these include various forms of cancer and HIV.
- Immune system disorders – this category includes lupus and other disorders.
Florida Legal Help Applying For or Appealing SSDI Benefit Decisions
Applying for SSD benefits is a multi-step process that can be extremely confusing and time consuming, especially if you are already overwhelmed with issues related to one or more disabling conditions that are affecting you or your loved ones. The law offices of Hoffman, Agnetti & Larin, P.A. have years of experience helping all types of clients seek SSD benefits. If you have questions about how you can get help filing for SSD benefits or appealing a denial of SSD benefits, please call our helpful Florida Social Security disability attorneys today at (305) 653-5555 or use our convenient online contact form to arrange for a free consultation.