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Do I list multiple disabilities on my SSD application?

A common question we get on our disability forum is whether or not claimants should list multiple disabilities on their disability application. This blog will analyze when you should include disabilities and what evidence you should have for your disabilities  in your medical records.

SSA Disability Programs Overview

SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance is provided to workers who have a severe health condition which is expected to last for 12 continuous months or result in death. SSDI applicants must also have enough work credits to be considered “insured.”  The number of credits needed to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance can vary if you become disabled at a young age. Generally, most workers will need approximately 20-40 work credits to qualify for SSDI.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is the second cash assistance program for individuals who cannot work. SSI is awarded to the aged (65 years or older), blind or disabled who are not considered “insured” by the Federal government but need cash assistance to meet their minimum monthly expenses.  SSI applicants do not have to have a work history or earn work credits to qualify for SSI benefits.

Determining disabilities for SSDI and SSI

Disability is determined using the same criteria for both SSDI and SSI. What does this mean for you? Whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI you will have to prove that your health condition(s) is so severe it does not allow you to work for at least 12 continuous months.

What conditions should be listed on my SSDI or SSI application?

Some SSI or SSDI have one severe health condition such as lung cancer or brain tumor which eliminates their ability to perform substantial gainful activities. Other claimants have multiple conditions and while none of the conditions on their own may be severe enough to eliminate the ability to work the conditions taken together they may be completely debilitating.

For example, what about the worker who has diabetes, neuropathy, lower back pain and swelling of the extremities? Each of these conditions on their own may not be disabling but in their totality they may be, especially for an older worker.

So what conditions should be listed on your SSDI or SSI application? List every condition that reduces your ability to work, that is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and which you have medical evidence to support within your medical records.

Conditions which will not last 12 continuous months will be considered irrelevant. For example, if you are pregnant or you have a broken arm that will heal within the next few months the SSA will not consider this a disabling health condition.

Additionally, as mentioned above, you MUST have medical evidence to support your claim. If you state that you have diabetes you need medical evidence to support this claim and ideally you also would have medical information about how this lowers your ability to work.  For instance, your condition is so severe you are not able to stand for over 15 minutes or you need a device, such as a cane or wheel chair, to help you ambulate effectively.

In Conclusion

The most important thing when filling out your disability application is to be specific, be accurate, and include all conditions that reduce your ability to work and which are clearly supported by great medical evidence, whether this is one condition or multiple conditions.
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