At some point, everyone experiences an illness or injury that puts them on the sidelines for a few days or weeks. A bad flu, surgery or traumatic health event may require hospitalization and a long recovery before you are feeling fit enough to get back to work and into the swing of life again.
However, what happens when that illness or condition does not resolve and you see no end to your suffering? If you find yourself unable to work because of your condition, you may soon be struggling financially. This may be when you begin considering whether you are eligible for assistance through the Social Security Administration. Qualifying for Social Security Disability is not always easy, but the first step is understanding the terms of eligibility.
Can you work?
Agents with the SSA will evaluate your application to determine your Residual Functional Capacity. Your RFC is the level of ability you retain in spite of your impairment. Agents will decide if your RFC allows you to do any work that is sedentary, light, medium or heavy. If you have any RFC, you will not qualify for benefits. However, the SSA considers other factors besides your basic mobility, including:
- Your level of pain
- How often your pain occurs, what causes it and how long it lasts
- Whether you are taking medications and any complicated side effects of those drugs
- Other forms of pain relief you may need besides drugs
- Your level of anxiety or depression
- Issues you may have with concentration, digestion, sleep or fatigue
Since SSDIs purpose is to assist those who cannot work due to health issues, the main qualification for coverage is that you are unable to work. This does not mean simply that you cannot perform the job you formerly had, but that you are unable to do any work that provides substantial gain.
Who is eligible?
About two thirds of all applicants for SSDI are denied benefits. This is often because they do not meet the standards of having a disability. In addition to having no RFC, you must have a qualifying condition that is one of the specific impairments listed in the SSA’s Disability Determination manual. Additionally, your doctor must expect your condition to last longer than one year or to result in your death.
If you are suffering from a medical condition or impairment that makes it impossible for you to maintain gainful employment, you may want to avoid the frustration of a denial of your application for SSDI benefits. Seeking assistance from an Alabama attorney with experience handling disability cases may be in your best interests.