According to the United States National Center for Health Statistics, a chronic illness is any type of disability or condition which lasts for three or more months, does not disappear, and cannot be prevented by medication. Unfortunately, up to 85% of our current population over the age of 65 years has one or more types of chronic conditions.
Many chronic illnesses can be avoided by taking care of your body by avoiding common damaging actions such as obesity, poor eating habits, smoking, and inactivity. Others, however, may be genetic and can only be controlled, not eliminated. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, What are the most common chronic illnesses and will I qualify for disability benefits if I have a chronic illness?
Common Chronic Illnesses
A chronic illness can be severe and life-threatening. They also can progress over time reducing your qualify of life or you ability to function, maintain employment, and care for yourself. Others require expensive medical treatment or create invisible disabilities which are not readily apparent to friends and family. Unfortunately, many chronic conditions will create mental, physical, and financial challenges that can cause fear, concern, and embarrassment. Unfortunately, they may also require your family and friends to help care for you.
So what are the most common types of chronic illnesses? Common chronic illnesses include cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, severe asthma, and chronic fatigue, each varying in severity and requiring different types of treatment.
Can I get SSDI for my Chronic Illness?
Many chronic conditions may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is offered to claimants who have a severe mental or physical health condition which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months and does not allow the claimant to perform substantial gainful activity. Claimants must also meet nonmedical requirements, including earning sufficient work credits to be considered insured by the Social Security Administration. If you have not met the nonmedical requirements the severity of your condition will not matter; you will be denied SSDI.
Is my Chronic Illness disabling?
So how do you know if your condition is disabling and whether it is severe enough to win SSDI benefits? The first step is to review the SSA Listing of Impairments. This is a listing of all of the conditions the SSA considers disabling and their corresponding symptoms. The good news is many chronic illnesses are listed in the guide. If your condition is listed, however, your work does not stop there.
You will also need to ensure that your medical records clearly outline your symptoms and the limitations you have to work. For example, if you have multiple sclerosis your condition will be evaluated under 11.00 Neurological in the SSA Listing of Impairments, Section 11.09.
In order to meet the listing the SSA will determine if you have difficulty walking or using your hands because of significant impairments of at least two limbs, including partial paralysis of your limbs, tremors, or involuntary movements. Or they will determine if you have severe fatigue or muscle weakness, a decrease in your vision that cannot be corrected, or a mental disorder which causes severe memory loss, decreased intelligence, or mood disturbance.
If you continue to have questions about your condition or whether you meet a listing you can discuss your case with a doctor or a disability lawyer.