Do you or your loved one have a physical impairment that renders you unable to work? If so, you may be entitled to monthly cash benefits through the Social Security Administration. Proving that you meet these requirements can be challenging because the requirements for what continues a physical impairment are strict. Most initial claims for benefits are denied.
Consulting with an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer will increase your chances of success. At Disability Advocates Group, we focus our legal practice on advocating for disabled Los Angeles residents. We will review your case and help you complete a thorough and accurate application for benefits. Our team will navigate your claim throughout the entire process, from submitting your application to appealing your claim, should the Social Security Administration deny it.
What Is a Physical Impairment?
The Social Security Administration requires applicants to prove that they have a qualifying physical impairment to receive benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, a physical impairment prevents a person from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA).
Applicants must prove that they cannot work due to a severe physical or psychological impairment or a combination of impairments. If the applicant cannot do the work he or she did before becoming injured or disabled and cannot adapt to a different job, he or she can apply. There are various categories of physical impairment that qualify applicants to compensation, such as:
- Physical disabilities
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Balance disorder
Examples of Physical Impairments
Claims examiners use a manual called the “Blue Book” to determine which conditions are severe enough to render applicants unable to perform the substantial gainful activity. The list includes many common physical impairments that prevent applicants from walking and working. The Blue Book categorizes physical impairments according to bodily impairments, such as:
- Cancer – certain advanced and metastatic cancers
- Hematological – bone marrow failure, hemolytic anemia
- Immune – rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, HIV/AIDS
- Skin – dermatitis, skin cancers
- Neurological – multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, cerebral palsy
- Genitourinary and kidney – chronic renal failure, organ damage due to diabetes, kidney failure, kidney cancer, bladder cancer
- Digestive – ulcerative colitis, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease
- Respiratory – asthma, COPD, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis
- Senses and speech – vision and hearing loss
- Cardiovascular – cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure
- Musculoskeletal – joint, back, and muscle injuries
What Happens If Your Impairment Isn’t In The Blue Book?
If your specific physical impairment isn’t listed in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for benefits. When a specific impairment isn’t listed, the applicant can succeed when their condition is as severe as one of the impairments listed. For example, when an applicant has cancer, but the specific diagnosis isn’t listed, they can still qualify by proving that the impairment is as severe as other types of cancer listed.
Physical Impairment Guidelines
How do Social Security Disability examiners make eligibility determinations? They consider multiple factors. First, they will evaluate your physical impairment, ensuring that it is a medical condition that has been diagnosed and described by doctors. This determination involves deciding whether your condition is “medically determinable.” You will need to include statements from your treating physician and your medical records to prove that your physical impairment is medically determinable. These documents will need to show that your medical condition is expected to last at least 12 months or cause your death.
Does Your Physical Impairment Prevent You From Working?
After deciding if your condition is medically determinable, the claims examiner will focus on your job history and how your impairment interferes with your employment. If your physical impairment prevents you from working in the same job you worked in when you became disabled, you will qualify for benefits. The examiner will also consider whether your physical impairment prevents you from performing another type of substantially gainful work. They will consider your training, education, and previous work experience. There are multiple factors that claim examiners look to when determining eligibility, such as:
- Can you do the same type of work you did before becoming disabled?
- Are you able to do other types of work? If you can do less physically demanding work, the SSA may determine that you aren’t eligible.
- Is your specific disability included in the Blue Book?
- Is your physical impairment severe enough to substantially interfere with work activities?
- Are you currently working, and do your earnings exceed the income cap?
We Offer Caring And Committed Legal Representation
Applying for disability benefits is an intimidating and complex process. Trying to navigate the process alone can be especially challenging while coping with a physical disability. Our Social Security Disability lawyers will complete your application for you, ensuring that it includes all required documents. We have an in-depth understanding of the reasons the Social Security Administration denies initial applications. We will review your application and ensure it’s error-free.
Most initial applications are denied, and you will need to request a reconsideration. Should the Social Security Administration deny that claim, you will need to request a hearing. Our disability lawyers will also help you prepare for your disability hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). We will present evidence on your behalf demonstrating how your physical impairment affects your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity. We take the time to carefully listen to our clients and answer all of the questions they have.
Contact the Disability Advocates Group Today
At the Disability Advocates Group, we understand that your livelihood and ability to meet your financial needs could be dependent on obtaining disability benefits. Our Social Security Disability lawyers work tirelessly for our clients. We don’t take payment unless we secure benefits for our clients. If you’re considering applying for Social Security benefits, we can help. We will navigate the entire process for you effectively. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.