Disability Impairments & SSD

Disability Impairments | Disability Lawyers

Morristown Social Security Disability Lawyers Helping You Pursue Benefits

One of the first questions people ask our Morristown Social Security Disability attorneys at The Terry Law Firm is how do I know whether my condition meets the definition of “disability?” While there are numerous factors that the Social Security office looks at when evaluating your case, there are some clear areas that define diseases and conditions serious enough to be considered a true impairment.

We have the experience and knowledge to help you with your Social Security Disability claim. Our team represents clients throughout East Tennessee, including Hamblen, Greene, and Hawkins County. We can help you determine if your disability is covered under the program and, if it is, work together with you to pursue benefits.

The 14 medical impairment areas that may qualify you for disability include:

  • Musculoskeletal System: Degenerative Disc Disease; Spine Disorders; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; Fibromyalgia; Herniated Disc; Lumbar Stenosis; Spinal Arachnoiditis; Osteoarthritis; Reflex Sympathetic Disorder; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Ruptured Disc
  • Special Senses and Speech: Vision Loss; Otolaryngology (Hearing Loss); Meniere’s Disease
  • Respiratory System: Asthma; Emphysema; Sarcoidosis; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cardiovascular System: Heart Failure
  • Digestive System: Crohn’s Disease; Colitis; Liver Disease; Hepatitis
  • Genitourinary Impairments: Kidney Failure; Interstitial Cystitis
  • Hematological Disorders: Chronic Anemia; Sickle Cell Disease; Chronic Thrombocytopenia; Coagulation Defects and Hemophilia
  • Skin Disorders: Ichthyosis; Bullous Diseases; Chronic Skin Diseases
  • Endocrine System: Diabetes; Obesity
  • Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems: Mosaic/Non-mosaic Down Syndrome; Trisomy X Syndrome (XXX Syndrome); Fragile X Syndrome; Phenylketonuria (PKU); Caudal Regression Syndrome; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Neurological: Neuropathy; Seizure Disorder; Stroke (Cerebrovascular Accident); Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Mental Disorders: Anxiety Disorder; Autism; Bipolar Disorder; Depression; Mood Disorder; Organic Mental Disorders; Panic Attacks; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Schizophrenia
  • Malignant Neoplastic Diseases: Cancer; Mesothelioma
  • Immune System Disorders: Lupus; Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

When you apply for disability benefits, a Social Security official will ask whether your particular condition matches up with one of these impairments. If your impairment is of such severity or is among one of the rare diseases that qualifies you for a Compassionate Allowance, you may be immediately qualified for disability. Most people who are disabled do not have a condition that meets this definition, however, and in most cases the Social Security office will compare your disability with their list of recognized impairments and then proceed to ask you about your ability to work.

Call Social Security Benefit Lawyers for Help Getting Compensation!

If you need assistance in filing an initial Social Security Disability claim, or if your claim has been denied, the our Morristown, Tennessee Social Security Disability attorneys at The Terry Law Firm are ready to help. We know what documents to file, how to file, and the right steps to get claims approved.

Protect your right to a swift and fair hearing and get the benefits you have worked for. Contact us at (423) 586-5800 for a free initial consultation.

Social Security Disability

Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

Social Security will pay you benefits if you cannot work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in your death. This description is the federal government’s definition for disability and will be used to determine whether your situation qualifies you for disability benefits. The definition limits the disability payments to long-term only and does not give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability. Primarily, if you have paid enough in Social Security taxes – at least half of the working quarters since you turned 21 years of age – you are eligible to file a claim for Social Security Disability if you become disabled.

To get disability benefits, in addition to meeting the disabled definition, you must also meet two different earnings criteria:

  1. A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
  2. A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

Who decides if my disability entitles me to SSDI?

The Social Security office will review your application to determine whether you worked enough years to qualify and to assess the level of your current work activities. If you meet these criteria, your application will be passed on to the Disability Determination Services office in your state which completes the disability decision for the Social Security office.

The state agency will ask your doctors and specialists for information about your condition and will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information.

Specifically, they will ask the medical team for the following information:

  • What your medical condition is
  • When your medical condition began
  • How your medical condition limits your activities
  • What the medical tests have shown
  • What treatment you have received

In addition to the above, they also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled. Additional medical information may be needed before a final decision can be made. It is possible that the state agency will ask you to go for a special examination. Although the preference is to use your current doctor, the exam may be conducted by another qualified physician.

How long will my application process take?

According to the Social Security Administration the length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can take from three to five months.

It can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on:

  • The nature of your disability;
  • How quickly medical evidence is obtained from your doctor or other medical source;
  • Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim; and
  • If your claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision.

Is there an alternative to the full application process?

Yes. The Social Security Disability Insurance has an initiative called Compassionate Allowances (CAL). This is a process whereby the Social Security office can provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. There are 88 qualifying rare diseases and cancers on the list. Compassionate allowances allow the office to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify under the Listing of Impairments, based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate allowances allow Social Security to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals and get their benefits to them.

Is my family eligible to receive benefits?

It is possible that certain members of your family qualify for benefits based on your condition and your previous work.

Those family members include:

  • Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older
  • Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled
  • Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time
  • Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
  • Your divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.