For many conditions, symptoms can be vague and subjective, thus hard to apply toward proving disability. Ranging from undiagnosed pain to mental health conditions, there are many hard-to-prove conditions that, in fact, do qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI.) If you’re asking yourself, “Do I qualify for Social Security disability?”, here are four tips to help you find out.
Tip #1: See your Doctor Regularly
With general symptoms for conditions that are difficult to pinpoint, it’s important that you see your medical professional regularly. Visiting your doctor once or twice a year isn't considered frequent enough for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to recognize your illness or condition as chronic.
Physical conditions that are difficult to properly diagnose include:
- Headaches and frequent migraines
- Peripheral Neuropathy or other repetitive motion syndromes, like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Pain, including fibromyalgia
- Multiple combined small impairments, that often speak to a larger undiagnosed disorder
When seeing a medical professional about symptoms like those listed above, it’s important that you keep a log of your records and make sure that you mention new developments, medications, treatments, and diagnoses.
Tip #2: For Mental Health Issues, See a Psychiatrist
Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health issues, the SSA doesn’t hold counselors and social workers in the same regard as they do psychiatrists. If you’re seeking Social Security disability benefits for general symptoms, seek out a psychiatrist instead.
Mental health conditions, historically, have been difficult to diagnose and treat. When seeking SSDI or SSI, having proper documentation of your symptoms, medications, and treatments is imperative.
Mental conditions that are difficult to properly diagnose include:
- Bi-polar disorder
- A combination of symptoms of mental disorders.
Just like with physical symptoms, it’s important to take your mental health seriously, and to track symptoms, treatments, and diagnoses in the same way. It’s possible to obtain benefits for mental disorders. With the help of medical professionals and the right legal team, you can obtain the benefits that you deserve.
Tip #3: Learn about SSA Listing of Impairments
When you’re suffering from chronic physical or mental conditions, it may not seem like the time to research how the Social Security Administration works when assigning disability benefits. Yet the better you understand the way the SSA works when cataloging disabilities, the better chance you have for gaining benefits you deserve. This catalog of disabilities is called the listing of impairments, and understanding how your general symptoms fit into this listing is important for receiving benefits.
When the SSA evaluates a claimant for disability benefits, they use very specific language for conditions, symptoms, and impairments. This is to provide medical professionals with an understanding of how the evaluation process works, and how health professionals can help ensure prompt and sound determinations on disability claims.
This can be both a help and a hindrance to those seeking SSDI and SSI. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome, specifically, is not included in the listing of impairments provided by the SSA. There are other impairments, like peripheral neuropathy, that are. It’s important that your medical professional understands the SSA disability evaluation process in order to best diagnose you when you are seeking disability.
If you are experiencing multiple general disability issues, like a combination of chronic fatigue, anxiety, and fibromyalgia, then it’s important your medical team is on the same page. Multiple health professionals will need to document your treatments and medications to help prove your disability. The more you understand about this process, the better you can fight for your own benefits.
Tip #4: Hire the Right Legal Team for You
A disability lawyer can help anyone facing a disability hearing, but if you’re experiencing general symptoms that are more difficult to diagnose, it’s even more imperative that you find the right legal team. Disability attorneys understand the ins-and-outs of the law and know what Administrative Law Judges (AJLs) are looking for in a hearing. They can help you assemble the best team of medical professionals to show that your symptoms meet SSA criteria for disability. They can help you understand the listing of impairments so that your disability claim encompasses all of your symptoms and conditions, and that nothing is left out.
You may hesitate to contact a disability attorney for many reasons, and we understand that. Know that an experienced disability legal team is fighting on your behalf to help you obtain the benefits that you deserve, and isn’t there to take advantage of you. The right legal team is your advocate, fighting for your rights.
Other reasons the right legal team can help your win benefits:
- Your case will be taken seriously by the SSA and the judge when you have representation.
- A local attorney knows the details of the system and the people involved.
- You won’t omit important information that may help you win your benefits.
- They’ll represent you in a hearing and will help you prepare your statement.
- You won’t miss important deadlines for filing documents and appeals.
- A disability attorney is only paid if you win your claim.
- It brings peace of mind knowing you have a legal team looking out for your best interests.
- You’re more likely to win benefits with legal representation.
Here at Affleck & Gordon, our commitment to our clients sets us apart from attorneys in general practice. We specialize in winning SSI and SSDI for you, and we care about you and your success. We’ve helped over 40,000 people in the Atlanta, Georgia area gain benefits in the past four decades, and we can help you, too. We’re the local, experienced disability attorney you’ve been looking for in Georgia. We’re looking forward to helping you win the benefits you deserve.
Let us help you today.