While any injury can be traumatic, it’s hard to overstate the difficulties that follow from an injury that prevents you from performing the job you’ve done all your life. Fortunately, the federal government can help by providing monthly benefits through its Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) programs. However, to qualify for these benefits, you must show that your inability to work results from a specific injury or illness.
At Coats & Todd, we want you to know how to identify if you qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits so that you can move forward without the added financial stress that follows from being unable to work. Our team is here to help you every step of the way.
Some of the common injuries that may qualify for SSDI/SSI benefits are:
Below, we’ll help you identify how each of these can impact your ability to do your job and why it’s crucial to seek benefits.
Back injuries are some of the most common injuries we encounter. While they can gradually develop over time through repetitive stress and strain, they can just as easily result from a sudden car accident or slip and fall. And they can have devastating, lifelong effects that are difficult to treat. Here are just a few of the back injuries that may render you eligible for SSDI and SSI benefits:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bulging, slipped, or ruptured discs
- Nerve root irritation or compression
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
If that sounds like something you are going through, you’re not alone. Increasingly more and more Americans are claiming disability due to back injuries. In fact, a 2015 national beneficiary survey found that over 40% of disability recipients attributed their inability to work due to a back impairment.
Nevertheless, the Social Security Administration will not simply take you at your word. You must demonstrate your back injury by way of “medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.” That includes things like x-rays, MRIs, CT studies, and diagnoses provided by a licensed physician, such as a medical or osteopathic doctor. Furthermore, the Administration often expects that the patient is receiving medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can result from pressure or injury to the median nerve as it passes along under the ligament along the front of the wrist. It often results from repetitive motions, and it is common in office settings. People who suffer from carpal tunnel often describe a numbness, tingling, or electric sensation in the fingers and hand, sometimes even traveling up the arm.
While carpal tunnel syndrome may appear slight, it can have a profound effect on your ability to work. It often impairs the ability to grasp, operate a keyboard, or even perform basic activities like bathing and dressing. These activities are essential to work; even the administration admits that almost every job requires the ability to effectively use the hands. If you experience numbness from carpal tunnel syndrome and you have a diagnosis from a qualified physician, that can be the start of building a successful SSDI or SSI claim.
Some individuals are unaware of how a mental illness can impact their ability to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and payments. It’s vital to know that mental illnesses can qualify you to receive benefits. However, there are no specific mental impairments that would guarantee you a successful claim. Some of the more common mental illnesses that could qualify include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Borderline intellectual functioning
- Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorder
But regardless of the condition, you have to prove that it prevents you from working. That generally requires a diagnosis by a licensed physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist. It often also requires a history of medical care for your mental illness, including medication, counseling, and sometimes even inpatient hospitalizations.
If you’re applying for disability benefits, be warned that it’s not always easy to go through the process. Working with a lawyer can help you obtain and submit all the evidence to verify your impairment and support your claim for benefits when you need them most.
At Coats & Todd, we have built a strong and trusted reputation providing the highest level of care when our clients need and deserve it. We pride ourselves on integrity and success, utilizing more than 60 years of combined experience to help our clients obtain peace of mind during the entire process.
Our lawyers represent clients throughout Texas. When you need Social Security attorneys on your side, choose a team that knows how the process works. We’ll guide you through the application-filing process and administrative review so that you recognize and protect your rights every step of the way. If you have applied for disability or are considering applying, give us a call.