Hearing your doctor refer to you as disabled for the first time can be a jarring experience. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Disability Can Be Defined in Multiple Ways
When your doctor says you are disabled, it means you have a physical or mental impairment that affects some aspect of your movement, senses, or ability to complete common daily activities. Your disability may need to be treated with medication, therapy, assistive devices, and/or lifestyle modifications, but you may still be able to live a full and active life.
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) says you are disabled, it means you have a condition that makes it impossible for you to hold substantially gainful employment. The SSA definition of disability requires the following:
- You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from doing the same type of work you did before you became disabled.
- Your condition prevents you from succeeding in other types of paid employment.
- Your condition has lasted at least 12 months, is expected to last at least 12 months, or is terminal.
Non-Medical Factors Can Be Crucial in Supporting an SSDI Application
Your doctor’s medical opinion forms the basis of your SSDI application, but it’s not the only form of evidence you’ll need. A Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation detailing your physical and/or mental limitations and how they affect your ability to continue working is often crucial, as are employment records or statements from coworkers and supervisors familiar with accommodations made on your behalf or the ways in which your condition affected your work performance.
Keep in mind that age and education play an important role in determining a person’s eligibility for SSDI. The SSA believes people with postsecondary education are better equipped to find sedentary positions that accommodate physical disabilities, while younger workers are more able to access training opportunities that will help them find careers that can accommodate their impairments. Generally speaking, applicants with a high school diploma or less who are 50 or older are most likely to have their applications approved. However, an experienced Social Security disability attorney can often have an application approved on appeal.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you or a loved on has been denied Social Security Disability Benefits you need to speak with an experienced SSD attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.