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“Maybe you should apply for disability” is perhaps the worst thing that a patient can hear from a doctor. Typically, your job defines you. Inability to work does not just take away your ability to earn money. In a very real way, it also takes away your identity. However, if you are disabled, you should definitely apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. This program does more than deliver monthly cash into your bank account. Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm specializes in helping people apply for SSDI benefits that can unlock some second career possibilities that truly give fulfillment and quality of life back.

To qualify, you must have a recognized disability, such as one of the illness or injury categories discussed below. A disability presumption applies in a few cases in each category. If that presumption does not apply, benefits are still available. But, a Heermans disability lawyer in Memphis must produce additional evidence concerning the effects of this condition. Additionally, the illness or injury must satisfy the other elements of the Social Security Administration’s disability test. Essentially, the applicant must be unable to perform substantial gainful employment (earn more than $1,350 a month), have a severe condition (medical disability expected to last at least twelve months), and be unable to work in the future.

So, this means a simple doctor’s note is not enough to obtain SSDI benefits. In many respects, “disability” is not just a medical term. Furthermore, mostly because of the Social Security Administration’s well-chronicled funding problems, there is less money to go around than there was before. Without a Heermans Social Security Disability lawyer, applicants are challenged to represent themselves and obtain the benefits they need and deserve. A lawyer assembles the medical, vocational, educational, economic, and other evidence needed to support your claim. Furthermore, a Heermans attorney in the Memphis Metro Area, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi knows how to present this evidence, both at the Disability Determination Services office and, if necessary, at a subsequent administrative hearing.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

This category usually includes any illness or injury that permanently alters the skeletal structure in some way. It also includes some soft tissue injuries, such as severe burns, and curvature of the spine. The presumptive conditions are:

  • Skeletal spinal disorders that compromise at least one nerve root,
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis which affects the cauda equina,
  • Arthrodesis of a primary weight-bearing joint,
  • Joint abnormality in one or more extremity,
  • Any amputation or pathologic fracture,
  • Soft tissue abnormality or injury that requires ongoing surgical maintenance, and
  • Certain non-healing fractures.

Many of these conditions are severe, but they are not disabling. A listed medical condition triggers the presumption of benefits, but it does not guarantee benefits.

Some rare musculoskeletal conditions include fibrous dysplasia, osteogenesis imperfecta, and X-linked hypophosphatemia. Typically and unfortunately, a diagnosis alone is insufficient to trigger the presumption. Additional evidence is necessary, often in the form of lay statements, about the effects of the condition and how it impacts the applicant’s life on a daily basis. Typically, benefits are available if the unlisted condition is substantially similar to a listed condition.

Sensory Impairments

These conditions are often entitled to fast-track Quick Disability Determination (QDD) status. People with severe, permanent blindness, deafness, and other such impairments are often not employable. Speech and hearing loss are usually covered conditions. But vision loss is normally the big one. Blindness is much more common, and much more likely to be disabling, than deafness or muteness. The 21st century is built upon visual stimulation and task necessity. 

According to the Social Security Act, people are blind if their vision is worse than 20/200 in a good, corrected eye, or their visual acuity is less than 20 degrees. 20/200 vision is relatively easy to show. Visual acuity tests range from simple ones, like counting fingers and tracking a moving hand, to much more complex ones, like cycloplegic refraction and the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study test chart. Not surprisingly, Social Security doctors usually do not administer the costlier, and therefore more accurate, vision tests. They normally just tell you to follow my hand or ask “how many fingers am I holding up?”

If your vision is so bad that it inhibits your ability to work, a Social Security DIsability attorney might advise you to arrange for accurate medical tests that provide indisputable proof of your medical disability.

Neurological and Mental Disorders

These presumptive conditions include cerebral palsy, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, eating disorders, autism, impulse control disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Something significant to understand, is that the presumptive conditions do not include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 60 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD at one time or another. PTSD symptoms, such as depression, anger, loss of interest, and nightmares, are often disabling under the aforementioned standards, but they are not presumptive conditions that automatically guarantee disability benefits. 

Usually, PTSD qualifies as a Social Security Disability condition if the physical effects are disabling. For example, Mike’s nightmares might keep him awake at night and make him unable to function effectively. But this is not the same as being a presumptive condition for benefits. These finer disability case details show why it is so important to have a Heermans lawyer represent you in your application for disability, current disability claim, if you have been denied disability, or want a FREE disability evaluation. 


ALS and some forms of cancer, such as pancreatic and blood cancer, may be eligible for the compassionate allowance shortcut. A confirmed diagnosis, even without other evidence of disability, may make a person eligible for benefits. 

For other forms of cancer, the Social Security Administration considers things like the cancer’s origin, extent of involvement, response to treatment, and post-therapeutic residual effects (side-effects of treatment). A Herrmans Social Security disability lawyer must produce other evidence as well. The bottom line is that cancer claims, aside from the compassionate allowance claims, are surprisingly complex. 

Social Security financial benefits are almost literally a matter of life and death in these cases. Today’s cancer treatments are very advanced and very expensive. So, the survival rate is high, as long as the patient has the financial and medical resources for proper treatments.

To learn more about other qualifying conditions, contact the Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm 24/7 at (901) 244-0057. More value added FREE information can be found in our online article library.


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