When someone is injured at work, or is otherwise rendered unable to earn a living, the situation can seem dire. No income and an injury or illness to contend with can easily lead to feelings of helplessness. Fortunately, the United States government, through the Social Security Administration (SSA), provides a safety net for people who find themselves in that unfortunate circumstance. At the end of 2013, over 10 million people were receiving monthly social security disability (SSD) payments in the United States. The number may seem high, but not all disabilities qualify.
The Social Security Administration provides an online Listing of Impairments that they use to help determine whether or not an applicant qualifies for SSD, but each section is long, complex and cumbersome to read. So, here’s a brief look at some of the most common categories of injuries and illnesses that the SSA has historically approved for disability payments.
Heart and artery diseases fall under this category, as does the full range of disorders that negatively affect the circulatory system. The condition can be acquired, but it can also have a congenital origin.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver dysfunction, malnutrition, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage are some of the conditions covered under this category.
Whether congenital, acquired or hereditary, skin disorders such as certain chronic infections, genetic photosensitivity disorders, burns, and bullous diseases are considered to be valid conditions that can qualify someone for Social Security disability payments.
The SSA approves some people with certain musculoskeletal conditions for SSD. Such conditions can be acquired, congenital or hereditary, and can range from soft tissue damage to spine injuries, bone fractures, and limb amputations.
Illnesses, such as asthma, and diseases including cystic fibrosis, are covered under this category. The SSA has even approved some people who have severe sleep-related breathing disorders.
Special Senses and Speech
Vision, hearing and speech are the cornerstones of communication. So, when one or more of your senses becomes diminished to the point that it interferes with your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability payments. If balance is an issue, or you suffer from vertigo, you may qualify as well.
Common Specific Conditions and Diseases
The broad categories listed should help you assess whether or not you have a qualifying condition. However, there are some specific illnesses and diseases that are approved more often than others. The list includes certain cancers, carpal tunnel syndrome, blindness, diabetes, liver disease, traumatic brain injuries, and back injuries, among others. However, even if your condition isn’t commonly approved, it’s still worth applying for SSD if it falls under one of the Social Security Administration’s general categories.
Does SSD Impact Other Benefits?
Don’t be concerned about SSD payments impacting other benefits you may already be receiving, such as pension or workers compensation. It is possible to collect benefits simultaneously. After all, you’ve been paying into Social Security for your entire working life so the benefits could be there for you when you needed them. Even if there ends up being an adjustment in benefits, it is still in your best interest financially to apply for SSD.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition or disease that will prevent you from working, you owe it to yourself to explore the option of SSD payments. Applying for SSD can be cumbersome, but the long term impact can be positive because, upon approval, you will have a consistent and reliable income stream for the duration of your disability.