Post by Eric Minghella, Disability Benefits Help
If you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness and you can’t work anymore because of that illness you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Anyone can apply for disability benefits as long as they have worked in the past and now expect that their illness will make it impossible for them to work for at least 12 months. The money from disability benefits doesn’t have to be used for medical expenses. It can be used for any living expenses including pay for essentials like housing, food, or utilities. But before your claim will be approved by the SSA you will need to meet their medical requirements.
Medically Qualifying For Social Security Disability Benefits With A Chronic Illness
There are more than 200 medical conditions that will qualify someone to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. All of those conditions are listed in a book called the Blue Book. You can look through the Blue Book on the SSA’s website. Each condition listed also has a unique set of requirements that a person applying for benefits must meet in order for their application for benefits to be approved. The person applying for benefits will need to show medical documentation that proves they meet those requirements before the SSA will approve their claim.
Qualifying for disability benefits with a chronic illness can be difficult, but there are some chronic illnesses that are listed in the Blue Book. For example, the chronic autoimmune conditions of Lupus, Vasculitis, Scleroderma, Connective Tissue Disease, and Inflammatory Arthritis are all covered under listing 14.02 in the Blue Book. Basically, you must be able to prove that your condition:
Is medically based
Is debilitating enough that you can’t work
Isn’t going to improve
But there may not be a Blue Book listing that you can qualify under if you have a chronic disease. If the disease you have isn’t listed in the Blue Book or you don’t meet the Blue Book requirements you can ask for a medical vocational allowance.
Medical Vocational Allowance
A medical vocational allowance is an exception that makes you eligible for disability benefits even if you don’t meet any Blue Book listing or requirements. To qualify for this exception your doctor will need to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity form. The RFC gives your doctor the opportunity to write about your chronic illness in detail. Your doctor should be very specific writing about your symptoms and how they limit your ability to work.
You can submit a claim for disability benefits to the SSA that includes all of your medical records and the RFC. The SSA will examine your medical records, your letter of diagnosis from a doctor, look at the RFC, and take into account factors like your age and your work history. If they decide that there is no type of work you could reasonably be expected to do with the condition that you have then you may be approved for disability benefits.
Applying For Disability Benefits
You can make an appointment at your local SSA office to fill out a claim form if you need help filing a claim. Or you can file a claim for disability benefits online through the SSA’s website.
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