Qualifying Impairments: Winning under a Listing, Winning Outside a Listing

Social Security Disability Lawyer Representing Claimants in Portland and Beyond

To receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or other benefits from governmental programs, such as Disabled Adult Child (DAC), Disabled Widows Income (DWI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must suffer from a medical or mental impairment that stops you from sustaining a competitive work week.

I am Sara L. Gabin, a Portland Social Security Disability lawyer who has been dedicated to assisting disabled individuals in Portland and elsewhere in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties for three decades.

Impairments that can Qualify you for Disability

Many of the more common debilitating medical impairments are included by the SSA in its official “Listing of Impairments.” So what are the Listings about? The Listing of Impairments includes specific medical criteria for medical and mental impairments that the SSA considers to be so severe as to prevent a person from being able to engage in full-time job functions. For children under 18 years old applying for SSDI, the impairment must be so severe as to lead to substantial and marked functional limitations in five functional domains. If a claimant’s condition meets or equals a Listing, he or she is presumed disabled.

Often, however, an individual’s specific disability will not satisfy a Listing. Indeed, most often disabled individuals do not satisfy The Listings. When your condition does not satisfy a Listing, it is still possible to be found disabled. When your condition does not meet a Listing, you will need to show that your impairment stills precludes your ability to do your past work or other work in the national economy. This proof comes from evidence of your physical and mental functional difficulties through your testimony, medical records, the opinions of your treating doctors, and also from co-workers, friends, neighbors and family.

There are many impairments that can qualify you for disability if they meet a Listing, or if they do not meet a Listing, if they create functional limitations that are severe enough to take you out of the workforce. Impairments typically fall in one or more of these categories:

  • Neurological disorders, such as those resulting from stroke, traumatic brain injuries, or muscular dystrophy.
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and lung disease.
  • Immune system illnesses, like AIDS/HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
  • Cardiovascular injuries or disorders affecting an individual’s heart or circulatory system, such as high blood pressure and blood clots.
  • Digestive system illnesses, like Crohn’s disease or hepatitis.
  • Hematological impairments, including chronic anemia and sickle cell disease.
  • Musculoskeletal system injuries or illnesses, such as herniated discs or degenerative disc diseases.
  • Malignant neoplastic diseases, which include various forms of cancer.
  • Special senses and speech disorders, such as hearing or vision loss.
  • Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, personality disorders, and organic mental disorders
Compassionate Allowances

When an impairment is acutely disabling, you may qualify for disability benefits through the SSA's compassionate allowances listings, whereby individuals who suffer from extremely severe conditions can qualify for expedited consideration of their claims, cutting down on the wait time before benefits are approved. Such allowances are rare. Plan on going through a hearing.

Contact a Portland Attorney to Discuss Your Benefits Options

Regardless of whether your claim has merit, a large percentage of SSDI and SSI claims are denied on initial application. The appeal process can seem overwhelming. During this time, it is important to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced Social Security Disability attorney who can help you show how you may qualify for the benefits that you deserve. I have assisted clients throughout the Portland area and elsewhere in Multnomah County for over 30 years. If you have questions about pursuing Social Security benefits and the claims process, call Sara L. Gabin at (503) 620-3171 or contact us online to learn more about how I can help.