SSDI- More than one condition, how do I prove disability?
Can I get SSDI with more than one condition?
Many disability claimants have been diagnosed with one condition which is so severe they are not able to work. Others have multiple conditions which individually might not be disabling but in their totality make it impossible for workers to perform substantial gainful activity. Recently on our disability forum we had a worker ask, How do I prove I am disabled and should get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if I have more than one condition?
How does the SSA determine SSDI disability?
First, whether you have one or multiple conditions its important to understand how the Social Security Administration will make their disability determination. First, to be considered disabled for SSDI or SSI you will have to prove you have a condition(s) which are severe, you are not working, your condition will last for at least 12 continuous months and you are unable to perform what the SSA considers substantial gainful activity.
Next, the SSA will review your conditions and determine if any of them are listed on the SSA Listing Impairments, and if they are listed and you have the corresponding conditions the SSA will consider you automatically disabled(assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements) and they will award you SSDI or SSI benefits.
For instance, if you have depression they will evaluate your condition under the Listing for Mental Disorders. If you have the symptoms of severe depression then they will consider you automatically disabled and the other conditions may simply continue to lower your ability to perform work.
What if none of the conditions are as severe as a condition on the listing?
What if you have several conditions, some of which may be on the listing, but your symptoms are not as severe as the ones on the listing? Keep in mind having a diagnosis will not be sufficient to be considered disabled. The SSA will need evidence of your symptoms and will compare them to the listed symptoms. If none of your symptoms are disabling than the SSA will not automatically approve your case.
Will this mean you will never be approved for SSDI benefits? No, if you have multiple conditions the SSA will review what they consider as your residual functional capacity to work. This is done through what the SSA calls a medical vocational allowance, and under this evaluation process the more conditions you have the better.
Think about it this way, if you have heart trouble, you are obese and you have diabetes none of these conditions may be considered disabling on their own, but its easy to see that each additional condition makes it more and more difficult for a claimant to work.
What do I need to prove I have a condition?
Going to a doctor and getting a medical diagnosis and prognosis are keys to winning SSDI or SSI benefits. Additionally, you should try to get detailed information about the activities you can and cannot do both at your job and at your home; the more specific the information the better. For instance, if you can only lift five pounds, sit 15 minutes, and stand one hour have the doctor document this. If you dont understand what you need to do, talk to a SSDI lawyer.