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Medical Disabilities

Knowledgeable Legal Representation for Social Security Applicants

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program designed to help individuals who remain unable to work due to a long-term physical or mental impairment and who are covered by Social Security (that is, who have sufficiently paid into the Social Security disability and retirement system through their payroll raxes). If you have a medical disability that prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. Having an experienced attorney handle your application may help in presenting your claim in the most favorable way possible. Social Security attorney Russell J. Goldsmith has over 34 years of experience providing diligent and honest representation to his clients. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith can guide you through the appropriate steps.

Listed Medical Disabilities

The Social Security Act defines “disabled” as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of one year or longer, or that can be expected to result in death. A medically determinable impairment is one that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities. In order to qualify, the impairment must be shown by medically acceptable laboratory and clinical diagnostic techniques. If the condition is diagnosed and supported by objective medical evidence, the next step is to determine the severity of the condition.

In determining whether the applicant has a qualifying medical disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) initially utilizes a “Listing of Impairments,” also known as the “Blue Book.” The Listing of Impairments identifies medical impairments for all body systems and the criteria needed to meet or equal the severity requirements in order to automatically be found disabled from working (that is to say, satisfy the medical eligibility requirements for the receipt of disability benefits). If an applicant’s condition meets or equals the guidelines in the Blue Book, as supported by the medical evidence, the applicant will automatically be considered severely disabled enough to prevent him or her from doing any gainful activity. The applicant will also be eligible for SSDI benefits, provided that the non-medical requirements have also been met.

Part A of the Blue Book lists the following categories for the evaluation of impairments in adults 18 years and older: Musculoskeletal System, Special Senses and Speech, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular, Digestive System, Genitourinary Disorders, Hematological Disorders, Skin Disorders, Endocrine Disorders, Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems, Neurological, Mental Disorders, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, and Immune System Disorders.

Unlisted Medical Conditions

If the applicant’s condition is not listed in the Blue Book, or if it is listed but does not meet the severity criteria, the applicant may still qualify for benefits if his or her condition is the medically functional equivalent of a listed impairment. In making this determination, the claims examiner evaluates the medical evidence to ascertain the applicant’s residual functional capacity, or in other words, what limitations the applicant has that prevent him or her from working.

Functional limitations can be physical or mental. Physical limitations include, for example, restrictions as to how long a person can stand, sit, walk, or move around, among others. It may also include such limitations as a reduced ability of senses, such as sight, hearing, or feeling, and other physical movements. Mental conditions may limit a person’s cognition, impair one’s ability to remember or concentrate, or reduce other functions.

The examiner will compare one’s residual functional capacity with the demands of the applicant’s prior work and decide whether the applicant’s condition prevents him or her from undertaking that work. If the examiner finds that it does not, the applicant will be denied SSDI benefits but will have an opportunity to appeal the decision. If the applicant is considered unable to do his or her previous work, the next step is determining whether he or she could engage in other substantial gainful activity. The examiner will consider this in light of the applicant’s impairment, skill set, education, work experience, and other factors. If the examiner finds that the applicant is unable to engage in other substantial gainful activity that exists in significant numbers in either certain regions of the country or the national economy, the applicant will then be considered disabled.

Apply for SSDI Benefits with the Help of an Experienced Attorney

At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, our experienced legal team assists clients with disabilities in applying for SSDI benefits. We offer personalized service and attention throughout the process, including an honest evaluation of your eligibility. To schedule your free consultation with an SSDI lawyer, contact our office by phone at (800) 773-8622 or online .