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Medical Conditions that Qualify for Disability Benefits

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Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are programs available to Americans who are unable to work due to a disability and who otherwise meet the requirements for each program. 

To determine if a person qualifies for disability, the Social Security Administration uses a five-step sequential evaluation. While no condition “automatically” qualifies for SSDI or SSI, having certain medical and/or medical health impairments may make it easier and faster to be approved for benefits.

At Bross & Frankel, we represent people with disabilities in their quest to get benefits, including SSDI, SSI, long-term disability, workers’ compensation, and veterans’ disability benefits. 

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

To qualify for either SSDI or SSI, a person must meet the SSA’s definition of disability and be unable to work for a year or more due to that disability. In addition, a person must have earned work credits for SSDI and meet income requirements for SSI. The SSA uses a five-step sequential evaluation to determine if a person is disabled:

  • A person cannot earn more than $1,550 a month (in 2024) from working when claiming disability, which is known as substantial gainful activity (SGA);

  • A person must have an impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limits their ability to do basic work and is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death (you can apply for disability benefits before you have been disabled for 12 months);

  • Social Security will review whether a person’s condition meets all of the requirements for a condition on SSA’s Listing of Impairments (Blue Book) or has other factors that equal a condition on that list;

  • If the person does not meet or exceed a Blue Book listing, then the medical impairment must prevent them from performing any of their past work; and

  • The person must not be able to do any other type of work, considering their impairment, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills.

Under this process, it is not enough to simply have a disability – even if that condition is severe and it meets or exceeds a Blue Book Listing. That condition must also leave a person unable to work more than a minimal amount. If the SSA determines that you are disabled, then you may qualify for SSDI and/or SSI. 

No Medical Condition Automatically Qualifies Someone for Social Security Disability Benefits

No condition automatically qualifies a person for Social Security Disability in the sense that having a particular disability means that you will automatically get SSDI and/or SSI. You still must meet other criteria – such as proving that you have earned enough work credits and that you are not currently engaging in substantial gainful activity. Nevertheless, certain conditions may make it easier and faster to qualify for SSDI and/or SSI. For example, depending on your condition, you may qualify for presumptive disability and/or compassionate allowance benefits.

If you have a condition that meets or exceeds the specific criteria in one or more categories, then it will be easier to qualify for SSDI and/or SSI because you won’t have to prove that you can’t do any of your past work or any other work. You will not automatically get Social Security disability benefits unless you can demonstrate that you cannot work because of your disability.

Although the SSA does not “automatically” approve anyone for SSDI and/or SSI benefits, it may still be possible to shorten the process or even get benefits before your application is fully processed. 

If you have questions about your eligibility for benefits, reach out to an experienced Social Security disability lawyer today schedule a free initial consultation. 

Speak to an Experienced SSDI Lawyer Today 

If you have been diagnosed with a medical or mental health condition, the thought of waiting months and dealing with bureaucracy to get disability benefits can be daunting. The Social Security disability attorneys of Bross & Frankel are here to help. We have decades of combined experience in Social Security benefits, including helping people with serious conditions who may qualify for presumptive disability and/or compassionate allowance  Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential case review

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