A disability does not have to be physically apparent to exist. A person may suffer from a debilitating medical condition or psychological disorder that is invisible to the naked eye, and yet this person could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Addressing such claims can be one of the more difficult aspects of our firm's Social Security disability practice, and yet we are up to the challenge.
There are a number of physical and mental disabilities covered by the SSDI program, which may not be immediately apparent to an outside observer. Severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), severe depression and schizophrenia are three examples of mental disabilities currently included in the list of Impairments covered by Social Security disability. Heart conditions, respiratory disorders and sciatica can present debilitating symptoms that prevent a person from working. These too may be covered by Social Security.
Is it important to understand what requirements must be met in order to quality for SSDI benefits. If your condition is not on the List of Impairments maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA) – which includes physical and mental conditions so severe as to immediately be considered qualifying disabilities, you may still be entitled to benefits if:
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death;
- Your condition is so severe as to prevent you from doing the work you did before; and
- Your condition prevents you from taking part in any gainful employment.
You must also meet work requirements, meaning you must have worked long enough and recently enough (the amount required will depend on your age).
To prove an "invisible" disability like PTSD or chronic pain, you will need to provide the SSA with sufficient evidence of your condition and its impact on your life. This can be accomplished by working closely with your doctor to ensure medical paperwork is properly submitted, and you must also properly file your claim with all required documentation and information.
With the inherent complexity of SSDI claims and their high denial rate (approximately two-thirds of claims are initially denied by the SSA), you may find it extremely beneficial to seek the aid of an experienced attorney. A lawyer who is familiar with the Social Security disability claims process will understand how to file a request for reconsideration, which is the first step in appealing a denied claim. A lawyer will also know how to properly file your claim in the first place to help you avoid an unnecessary delay or denial.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we believe in protecting the interests of disabled workers as they seek benefits through SSDI. If you would like to discuss a potential claim or are looking for legal counsel regarding a claim that has already been denied, please call our offices. A South Carolina Social Security disability attorney can answer your questions and help you get started in the right direction – toward the benefits you deserve.