Although you received your multiple sclerosis diagnosis over six months ago, you’ve tried to continue living your life as normally as possible. However, over the past few months, it appears that your symptoms have been worsening. You’ve been having troubles focusing, you have experienced periods of vision loss, and sudden muscle spasms are affecting your job. You’re trying to keep it together, but your boss has already spoken to you more than once about the possibility of having to let you go. He’s sympathetic to the fact that you’re ill, but he can’t keep you on if you can’t perform your duties.
If you’re fired, what options do you have? No one else will hire you if you can’t physically work. If you can’t physically work, how are you supposed to support your family?
You know that disability is your best option, but what do you need to do to prove that you have no other choice?
Proving Your Disability Eligibility
The Social Security Administration has several stages of requirements that it uses to decide whether you’re eligible for benefits. To qualify for disability, you must have been diagnosed with a debilitating ailment included in the Social Security Blue Book, as well as fulfill certain additional eligibility requirements.
The first stage for eligibility relies on five questions:
- Is your condition included in the Blue Book? Some exceptions are made, but if your condition isn’t included, your claim will most likely be denied.
- How severe is your condition? Only documented severe conditions are eligible.
- Are you working or have you recently been working? If you’re able to support yourself by working, then you obviously don’t need disability to survive.
- Are you physically able to continue your job with your condition? If you can continue working, disability will be denied.
- Are you physically and mentally equipped to perform any other types of jobs? If you can get another job that will pay your expenses, disability isn’t required.
If your claim can satisfactorily answer these questions, proving that you do indeed need disability benefits to live, your claim will then be reviewed for the following eligibility requirements:
- Your condition has or will last at least 12 months, or is expected to end in your death within a year.
- Your condition must limit your functionality enough that you’re unable to work at a level sufficient to earn a substantial and gainful income.
- You have worked long enough to have acquired enough disability credits. The number of work credits needed to qualify depends on your age when you become disabled. Your account typically gains one work credit every three months you work. Normally, you need at least 40 credits, 20 of which were earned within the previous 10 years before you became disabled.
If you and your condition fulfill these requirements, then you’ll have a good chance of getting your disability approved. However, certain problems could potentially arise that could disrupt your claim.
Making Your Case
It is an unfortunate reality that even if you fulfill all of the requirements and provide medical documentation of your disability, the Social Security Administration can still deny your claim. A judge could easily deny your claim if he becomes confused about the validity of your condition, or how it ultimately affects your working capabilities. Although you may think your case is straightforward, he may not see it so clearly.
This is why it is important to have legal representation to present facts when documents are unclear, explain your daily struggles, and convince the judge to sympathize with your plight. An experienced disability attorney could make the difference between a justifiably sympathetic approval and an unjustifiably obtuse denial.
Don’t allow a misunderstanding or poor representation cost you the benefits you desperately need. Call us today for a free consultation. You’ll be glad that you did.
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