What Qualifies as a Disability?

patient consulting with his doctorAn injury or illness can have a devastating effect on your personal and professional life, especially if it forces you to take time away from work to heal and recover. People who have suffered an injury that requires them to miss work may qualify for social security disability insurance or workers’ compensation, depending on whether or not the injury happened while they were at work. Some accidents cause injuries that will, unfortunately, not qualify you for disability insurance or workers’ compensation benefits and you will have no alternative but to seek compensation through a personal injury suit.

Our experienced attorneys have a long history of dealing with every kind of disability suit, from helping disease victims through appeal processes to receiving compensation for grieving families in wrongful death suits. If you have been injured or are suffering an illness and you can no longer make a living to support yourself or your family then we can help you.

Call us today for a free consultation so that we can discuss your case and determine a plan for action. With our help it may be possible for you to receive a settlement that will help you get your life back in order. We know that dealing with the stress of applications or lawsuits can affect your ability to recover from your injuries, which is why we make it our business to handle every aspect of your case – so that you can rest easy and focus on what’s really important.

Contact us immediately if you are suffering from any of the following categories of qualifying disability:

Arthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis/Polyarthritis

Arthritis, an inflammation of the joints, is one of several joint disorders that can qualify you for social security disability benefits or workers’ compensation if the disorder has progressed to the point where you can no longer function at work. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune form of the disease where the body’s own immune cells are responsible for the damage to the joint. Polyarthritis is any form of arthritis that affects 5 or more joints at the same time. If you are unsure if your form of arthritis qualifies you for disability, feel free to contact us for a free consultation so that one of our experienced attorneys can assist you.


Individuals who are blind or are suffering from temporary blindness have the ability to apply for social security disability insurance if they are unable to find work because of their current condition. Under social security disability insurance rules, blindness must be expected to last for at least 12 months, or have already been present for at least 12 months. Temporary blindness can be the result of physical or physiological factors and can cause either a complete loss of vision or flashing blindness, where vision comes and goes on a temporary basis.

Cancer Disability

Cancer is a disease that can take many forms, capable of attacking almost anywhere in your body. There are certain cancers that can receive an automatic approval for disability, while other forms of cancer may require further information about how far along the disease is or how far along treatment has gone. The following cancers are usually approved quickly:

  • Inoperable Brain Tumor
  • Inoperable Spinal Cord Tumor
  • Inoperable Lung Tumor
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Metastasized Lung Cancer
  • Metastasized Breast Cancer

If you are unable to work because of a cancer diagnosis we are capable of helping you through the process.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome/Repetitive Motion Work

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain and numbness in the nerves that wrap around the wrists. It can be either genetic or caused by repetitive manual work or work with vibrating tools. In order to qualify for disability or workers’ compensation with carpal tunnel or another repetitive motion injury, you will have to undergo a nerve conduction study to determine the severity of the condition. There are four possible outcomes of the test:

  • No existing carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Mild carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Moderate carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Severe carpal tunnel syndrome

Only cases that are either moderate or severe will be considered for these benefits.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) are two disabilities that are notoriously difficult to receive benefits for because there are no tests to prove their existence. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge about these syndromes and have experience with these kinds of claims. We understand that even though it can’t be proven, your fatigue cripples your ability to focus and complete tasks. With over one million Americans suffering from CFS-type disabilities, it is important to know that you are not alone and, even though it’s difficult, you can succeed in getting benefits for your disability.

Chronic Pain Conditions (CRPS/RSD) (back, neck, knee)

Complex regional pain syndrome and reflex sympathetic dystrophy are two variations of chronic pain conditions that can cause a person to lose the ability to work. These chronic pain conditions arise from a previous injury and are described as a severe pain that is continuous. The bone or soft tissue that was originally injured will also be sensitive to the touch. The key difference in diagnosing chronic pain conditions is the presence of a nerve lesion. If no nerve lesion is present, then it is considered reflex sympathetic dystrophy, while the presence of a nerve lesion classifies the disorder as complex regional pain syndrome.

Complications of Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 26 million Americans currently suffer from diabetes. That’s over 8% of the population of our country. The majority of diabetes patients are be able to function normally and their condition has a minimal impact on their social and professional lives. There are others, however, who suffer complications from their diabetes serious enough to impact the ability to live a normal life. These include:

  • Blindness (Diabetic Retinopathy)
  • Amputation or Loss of Sensation in the Limbs (Diabetic Neuropathy)
  • Dialysis or Kidney Transplant
  • Cardiac Arrest or Irregular Heartbeat (Cardiomyopathy)
  • Stroke

Complications of Stroke

patient having blood pressure taken by doctorWhen you suffer a stroke the complications can be severe, enough to render you incapable of daily activities, let alone the performance of professional duties. Minor strokes can have a similar effect on your life, albeit to a lesser degree, but are often more difficult to claim. Here are some of the side effects of having a stroke that impair the ability to work:

  • Depression
  • Complications with Balance
  • Memory Loss
  • Paralysis (Hemiplegia)
  • Complications with Motor Function (Ataxia)
  • Complications with Speech (Aphasia)

We know how difficult recovery from a stroke can be to you and your family, which is why we are here to assist you, from the initial application through to any appeal process that may be needed.


It is hard to explain to a person who doesn’t suffer from depression how badly the illness can affect your life. It becomes difficult to concentrate on one task or even maintain adequate social contact when you have a constant feeling of hopelessness, sorrow, guilt or any of the other common depression symptoms. Social security disability insurance is available for people who can no longer perform their jobs because of their depression until they manage to find a form of treatment that they feel will allow them to perform their duties again.


Fibromyalgia is a disorder where the afflicted suffers from widespread pain throughout the body, with additional pain experienced wherever there is pressure. There is no known cause or cure for fibromyalgia, and there are ongoing disagreements over whether the condition is psychological, environmental or genetic. Despite the controversial nature of the disorder, it is still possible to receive government benefits if the pain becomes too excruciating for you to continue with your work. Fibromyalgia is also associated with several other conditions, most notably fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic headache.

Heart and Lung Disease

Heart and lung diseases, and the complications that arise from them, are automatic qualifications for social security disability benefits, although there are some tests that need to be done to verify that the case is severe enough to warrant disability. You need to establish the loss of the ability to work for at least a year, either in advance of applying or for the period after the application. Your health care provider will be key in determining if your heart or lung disease qualifies you for disability benefits, and we can assist by coordinating with your physician to make sure you receive the necessary tests.

Heart Attacks at Work

More than 1 million Americans suffer a heart attack each year, and it’s no surprise that many of them are unable to go back to work under the order of their doctor. The Social Security Administration recognizes heart attacks as a qualifying impairment for disability benefits. After suffering a heart attack, your condition will not be evaluated until three months after the incident. Only at that point will all the factors be taken into consideration and a determination made. This much time is allowed to pass so that it can be known how well you recover from the heart attack – and even when people have not recovered they are sometimes denied benefits.

Heart Disease

There are several heart conditions that can cause a person to require social security disability insurance. The most common are:

  • Aneurysm
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Coronary Artery Disease

Heart disease can have an immediate and long lasting effect on your life and many people under 50 who suffer from heart disease are classified as disabled because of their inability to perform sedentary tasks. In order to perform sedentary work you need to be able to lift 10 pounds, sit for 6 hours and walk for 2 hours within an 8 hour span of time.


Hepatitis is a condition where inflammatory cells invade the tissue of the liver and the symptoms vary depending on the type of infection. If the hepatitis is not self-limiting (meaning that it heals on its own) and it lasts for longer than 6 months, then there is a chance it may be a chronic viral hepatitis infection. Because hepatitis is highly infectious and chronic cases can be debilitating, there are disability benefits available for certain individuals suffering from the disease. If you are suffering from hepatitis, it is in your best interest to receive proper legal representation before applying for your disability benefits.

Knee & Joint Injuries

a patient looking at an xray with a doctorAn injury sustained to the knee or joint can have a substantial impact on your quality of life. These injuries tend to require an extensive amount of physical therapy just to be able to function at a normal rate again, and in many cases one or more surgeries are required. Knee and joint injuries can occur at work, in a car accident or as part of a slip and fall. One thing is certain: if you suffer a serious knee or joint injury then you have a long, expensive road ahead of you and it should not be your responsibility to pay for the medical costs and loss of wages you will incur as a result of your injury.

Lupus and Autoimmune Diseases

A genetic autoimmune disease with no cure, systemic lupus erythematosus is incredibly unpredictable and has many several effects on the body. These include:

  • Arthritis in the Joints
  • Eye Pain and Blurry Vision
  • Renal Failure
  • Pain and Weakness in the Muscles
  • Myalgia, Arthralgia and Alopecia
  • Scarring of the Skin
  • Sensitivity to Light

The Social Security Administration has a unique set of criteria for diagnosing lupus. Unless you are aware of what their criteria is, it will be difficult to receive benefits for lupus, even if it is interfering with your ability to work. Our attorneys can assist you with your application and through any necessary appeal process.

Migraines/Seizures/Chronic Headaches

Migraines, seizures and chronic headaches occur in debilitating episodes that are capable of rendering you completely disabled for the duration of the attack. People who suffer from these conditions may be able to receive social security disability insurance or supplemental security income because of the severity of the attacks. A migraine has the ability to make the sufferer totally incapable of performing their work functions for several days at a time, while a seizure can happen at any moment without warning, and cause the sufferer extreme pain. If you suffer from epilepsy or have a history of migraine headaches, you should contact us to discuss whether you qualify for benefits.

Multiple Sclerosis

For people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease with numerous neurological symptoms and physical disabilities, it can be difficult to complete standard daily activities. For people whose MS is more severe it can be almost impossible to hold a steady job. Even medication that can keep MS symptoms in check can cause other side effects that, while different than MS symptoms, can also keep them from working. If you suffer from MS you are more than entitled to disability benefits, as multiple sclerosis is one of the qualifying disabilities.

Orthopedic Injuries

The Center for Disease Control has released statistics claiming that 20% of all injuries are orthopedic injuries, which are injuries effecting the bones and joints, but the majority of them heal with proper care and treatment. Some injuries may eventually lead to a permanent disability if the bone or joint continues to deteriorate. There are several kinds of orthopedic injuries.

  • Dislocations
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Fractures
  • Tears
  • Separations

If your orthopedic injury causes you to lose the ability to walk or perform motor movements then it is referred to as a ‘functional loss’ and qualifies you for social security disability insurance as long as the injury is expected to last, for up to a full year.


For some people paralysis occurs because of damage to the spinal column during an accident that takes place during their adulthood, for others it’s a side effect of a childhood illness or disorder. In either case you are entitled to social security disability insurance if you suffer from full or partial paralysis and are unable to work because of your condition. Depending on the extent of your paralysis there still may be certain jobs available to you that you are capable of performing. Because of this some people find their application denied, which makes it imperative to apply with the assistance of a qualified attorney.

Psychiatric/Mental/Neurological Illness Claims

Social security disability claims for psychiatric and mental illness claims are notoriously difficult to get approved; it’s for that reason that many lawyers refuse to take these cases. We handle mental illness claims with the same determination as any of other cases and will never shy away from what others deem to be ‘too difficult.’

Medically diagnosed anxiety disorders are common for many workers today, and they can cause panic attacks that are severe enough to jeopardize employment. People who have anxiety disorders find it difficult to manage their social lives and daily activities. Often fear of a certain situation or activity is severe enough to override the usual behavior of the sufferer. Anxiety is one of the conditions that can qualify a person for social security disability insurance, if it interferes with the ability to function at a job.
Examples of Mental Illness:

  • Bi-polar Disorder
  • Clinical Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Severe Anxiety

If you have been turned down for a mental illness claim or have yet to apply, then you should not hesitate to contact the experts and allow us to help you with your application.

Repetitive Use Injuries

a man's hands typing on a keyboardWhen your body performs a function on a continuous loop, even if that function does not seem strenuous, you have the chance of developing a repetitive use injury like carpel tunnel syndrome. When the standard duties of your job cause a serious injury to your body that you may never recover from, then you may be able to file for social security disability insurance. The very nature of these injuries makes them hard to prove and the claims are often denied, which is why you should contact us for a consultation if you are contemplating applying for SSDI because of a repetitive use injury.

Soft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries are the result of burns, both severe and minor, and can affect the ability to walk or use one’s limbs to the standards expected by employers. Soft tissue injury examples include:

  • Nerve Damage
  • Muscle Injuries
  • Damage to Veins and Arteries
  • Damaged Tendons and Ligaments
  • Injured Lymphatic System

The most common cause of soft tissue damage or burns is a motorcycle accident, with car accidents not far behind. Soft tissue damage can lead to permanent disfigurement or require extensive surgery to repair the injured parts of the body.

Spinal Cord Injury/Back and Neck Claims

When you suffer a spinal cord, back or neck injury, whether it’s from an accident or a work related injury, there is a significant chance that the injury will be severe and long lasting. People who suffer an injury to their spinal cord or neck may become paralyzed, permanently or temporarily, or even die from their injuries. Your standard of life will change drastically after a spinal cord injury, to the point where regular medical care may be required for many years to come. You will need to receive the maximum possible compensation to cover your injuries and loss of income – and we will work with you to achieve that.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Very few injuries are as severe as traumatic brain injuries. The brain can be injured in a variety of ways, from automotive accidents to falls from great heights, and the nature of the damage can be unpredictable, from short-term memory loss to permanent coma. There is a chance the impairment may heal in time, either through therapy or on its own, but there is also a chance it will get worse over time. Traumatic brain injuries rarely allow the afflicted to go back to work straight away, and in many instances compensation is required to cover any ongoing medical care.

Make Sure that You Qualify

social security benefit claim stamped approvedSimply being injured or having an illness is not enough to automatically qualify you for social security disability insurance or supplemental security income. The government has strict criteria for each category that will need to be met in order to qualify. Many applications that are not prepared with the assistance of an attorney are usually denied because of a tiny error or piece of missing information, mistakes you can avoid when using an attorney. We have dealt with these issues before and our lawyers are extremely knowledgeable about what needs to be proven for each category in order to receive benefits. We are capable of working with your physician or medical provider to guarantee that you receive the proper testing to demonstrate that your injury will keep you from working for the required amount of time.

We do not give up without a fight. If your application is rejected for any reason, we will stick with you and fight on your behalf through the entire appeals process, defending you until you receive what is rightfully yours.

This time in your life may be an unhappy departure from the way you are used to living. Certain illnesses and injuries are not curable or require extensive, life-long medical assistance. To face these challenges, you should recover at home with family and friends by your side, not in an office or courtroom arguing for compensation. With one phone call to our firm, we can get started on your claim, and get you on the path to a brighter future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *