Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Does my rare condition qualify me for SSD benefits?

Your recent diagnosis may have brought with it a flood of fears and emotions. You likely felt confusion about what to expect medically in your future, especially if you have never heard of or know little about your condition. How will this disease progress? How will it affect your ability to care for your loved ones? How long before you are unable to work to support your family?

Receiving a report of a disabling rare disease can cast a shadow of uncertainty over your life. You may wonder if Social Security Disability can, at least, ease your financial burden. Where do you even begin to find the answers to your questions?

How are SSD applications reviewed?

When you apply for disability benefits, Social Security Administration agents must determine if your illness will bring complete and permanent disability. If doctors have told you that your illness will last longer than one year or will likely be terminal, you may have met the first qualification for SSD. Agents will then consult a list of approved disorders for your condition. This list categorizes diseases according to the affected area of the body, such as musculoskeletal, and the type of disease.

Each rare disease has its own list of requirements in order for an applicant to qualify for benefits. You may need only a doctor's official diagnosis of some disorders to qualify, but other illnesses may require additional tests, pathology reports or exams by SSA agents.

Additionally, to be eligible for SSD, you must have contributed a certain number of credits into the Social Security system. In other words, based on the number of years you have worked, the SSA must have deducted a certain amount of money from your paycheck. You can check online or call an Alabama SSA office to see how many credits you need to qualify.

What if the SSA denies my application?

It can be very discouraging to receive notification that the Social Security Administration has denied your application. However, this is common for first-time claims, and there are steps you can take to get the agency to reconsider your case. If you are dealing with a debilitating illness, you probably don't have much energy to put into seeking the benefits you may desperately need.

Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide you with two important things. You will have a compassionate person to evaluate your situation and an advocate to represent you if you qualify to apply for benefits or appeal your denial. While you focus on regaining your strength, your attorney can handle your Social Security application process.

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