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Are you disabled?

Here’s some input by one of our experienced social security attorneys, Mark Papa. I’m often asked whether one can be approved for disability if they have (insert the name of the condition or diagnosis). The answer is always “maybe”.

Social Security has deemed some conditions so severe that a person with that particular condition or has a condition that “equals” that condition, would automatically be found disabled. These “automatically disabling” conditions are referred to as “The Listings”. For example, in order for a person with diabetes mellitus to meet a listing he or she must show diabetes mellitus with “neuropathy demonstrated by signficant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dextrous movements, or gait and station” or“acidosis occurring at least on the average of once every 2 months documented by appropriate chemical tests” or “retinitis proliferans” evaluated under the listings for visual impairment.

Social Security, by design, makes it very difficult to meet a listing. For most, the severity of a particular condition will not meet a listing and he or she must be able to prove disability by other means. This will involve having to show what a person can still do or what that person cannot do given his or her condition. It’s not the diagnosis that is important, but the effect that condition has on that person. Stating that you have diabetes (or whatever other condition) does not tell us much. Presumably, there is a person out there who is able to work despite having the same diagnosis.

So the question is, what makes you different? Is it as severe as the listing or something less? Assuming your condition does not meet or equal a listing and in thinking about how to prove your claim, think in terms of what your condition allows or prevents you from doing: How long can I sit, stand, and walk at one time? How long can I sit, stand, and walk over the course of an eight hour work day? How much can I lift and carry? Will my condition allow me to work on a regular and consistent basis? Or will I be missing work frequently? Is my concentration and focus affected? I’m of the opinion that most conditions, if not all, are potentially disabling. If you have been denied Social Security benefits. . . . call us . . .