Many people with disabilities have multiple medical conditions—also known as comorbidities—that act in concert to prevent them from being able to work and achieve substantial gainful activity. While some such individuals may have a disability that matches one of the impairments listed in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Blue Book, others may find that none of their conditions exactly match the criteria for any one listing and wonder if this means their SSDI application is doomed to fail. Fortunately, the SSA considers the combined effects of all your physical and mental conditions—both severe and otherwise—when determining your eligibility for benefits.
Here's what you need to know about applying for SSDI for multiple medical conditions and how working with our team of knowledgeable and experienced Social Security disability attorneys can increase your chances for success.
SSA Disability Assessment Process
The SSA will examine the following in its disability assessment process:
- Your ability to work
- Your severe and non-severe impairments
- Whether you match the criteria of a Blue Book listing
- Your residual functional capacity
Residual Functional Capacity Analysis
Matching a Blue Book listing isn't the only way to get SSDI approval. You can also seek benefits by completing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) analysis, which assesses your ability to perform your previous jobs, as well as other types of work. It also identifies what physical and mental work activities you can do despite your limitations. In such cases, listing multiple impairments may actually improve your chances of being approved for SSDI.
An RFC evaluates abilities and limitations in the following areas:
- Exertional activities. Generally strength-related, examples of exertional tasks include standing, walking, sitting, lifting, and carrying.
- Non-extertional activities. These can include physical activities involving mobility and dexterity—such as bending, reaching, and handling items or equipment—as well as cognitive limitations related to concentrating, following instructions, simple and complex decision making, handling stressful work situations, and interacting appropriately with coworkers and/or the public in a job capacity.
- Environmental restrictions. If your disabilities prevent you from performing certain types of work due to restrictions against exposure to chemicals, fumes, extreme temperatures, or vibrations, these factors will also be considered.
Why You Should Work With an Attorney When Seeking SSDI Benefits for Multiple Disabilities
Getting approved for SSDI benefits when you have just one disability can be complicated, with nearly two-thirds of applications denied in the initial stage. When you're applying with multiple medical conditions, the process can be even more challenging. Don't risk a denial due to avoidable errors in your application or a lack of sufficient supporting documentation.
Working with a seasoned disability attorney can stop case-damaging mistakes in their tracks. Here are just of few of the things our attorneys can do to assist you:
- Discuss the details of your claim, and help you understand your legal rights and options
- Provide guidance to help you complete the SSDI application
- Work with the doctors and specialists treating you to ensure you have the necessary medical documentation for your various physical and mental ailments
- Review the completed application and submit it by deadline
- Appeal a denial, if necessary
Talk to Us About Your SSDI Case
At O'Connor Law PLLC, our dedicated New York Social Security disability attorneys help clients navigate the SSDI process, and gain approval for much-needed benefits. Suffering from multiple ailments that make working impossible? Let our skillful attorneys handle all aspects of your claim. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary appointment to discuss the details of your case. Talk to an attorney for free and without obligation.