Social Security offers benefit programs for people with disabilities, provided that they meet certain eligibility criteria. Recipients must be unable to work full time or make a certain amount of income, and their condition must last at least twelve months or be terminal. They must also be able to prove that they are disabled and entitled to benefits, as the application process is quite selective.
Other than these basic criteria, there are no specific restrictions on which conditions qualify a person. In general, it is the severity of the condition, and not the name of the disease, that makes a person disabled.
Conditions that always qualify
However, some conditions are known to be especially severe and will almost always qualify a person for disability benefits. A program known as Compassionate Allowance allows some people to receive a quicker decision if they have certain conditions, such as acute leukemia or certain genetic conditions.
As mentioned before, terminal illnesses automatically qualify a person for benefits. In these cases, the disease itself may not matter.
Conditions that may qualify
Because Social Security programs are so selective, even those with legitimate disabilities are often rejected, at least the first time they apply. This happens even to people whose conditions are widely recognized as disabling, such as those with autoimmune diseases or severe mental illnesses.
People with more common conditions, even if their individual case is unusually severe, may have an increased chance of rejection. These people may benefit from a disability attorney, who can help them argue their case more effectively.
Conditions that do not qualify
In some cases, a person with a severe disability may not be considered disabled by Social Security. If a person becomes disabled because of ongoing substance abuse, they will not be eligible for benefits under the program. However, people whose drug or alcohol use was a contributing factor may be eligible.
In other cases, a person may be ineligible because their condition is expected to improve. For Social Security programs, a condition must last at least twelve months, unless it is a terminal illness. This may exclude some serious illnesses, depending on the individual prognosis.
If you are a person with a disability and can no longer work, you deserve access to benefit programs. Contact our offices by phone, email, or text message, and we’ll help you build your case. Schedule a free consultation today!