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Multiple Conditions and SSDI benefits

Claimants applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may have one severe mental or physical health condition, but they also may have multiple conditions which make it impossible to work a full-time job.
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So whether you have one condition or several multiple conditions it is important to provide medical information on your SSDI application about every disorder which contributes to your inability to work. It is also possible that while one of the disorders on its own may not be limiting enough to qualify you for SSDI benefits, the combined effect of all of your conditions when considered in their totality may.

How will the Social Security Administration assess multiple conditions?

If you apply for SSDI benefits and have listed multiple conditions on your SSDI application the SSA will review each condition and determine if any of them meet or exceed a listing on their SSA Listing of Impairments. This listing contains some of the most common conditions and symptoms the SSA has decided are disabling. This list, however, is not all inclusive, and many health conditions are not listed. For this reason, even if your condition is not listed, you may when benefits if you can prove your condition(s) is as severe as a listed condition. To determine whether your condition is as severe as a listed condition the SSA will have to consider the combined effects of all your impairments together. For example, if you have diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, and COPD the SSA can review whether your multiple conditions and their related symptoms are as severe as a listing for arthritis or diabetes.

Medical Vocational Allowance and Multiple conditions

What if the SSA decides your multiple conditions in their totality do not meet or equal a listing? You will have to win SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance. The medical vocational allowance process allows the SSA to review your residual functional capacity to work by evaluating your age, work history, transferable work skills, and educational background. The goal of the medical vocational allowance process is to determine if you have the ability or the residual functional capacity (RFC) to work your current job or retrain for new work. For example, your RFC describes what work you are able to do despite the combined effects of all your impairments. The SSA will determine whether you can work sedentary, light, or medium work. In some cases, the SSA will deny your application and state they believe you can retrain for new work. For example, if you have been performing heavy work you entire life but can no longer perform this work the SSA may argue that you have the capacity to retrain for new employment in a different field working a less strenuous job (i.e. light or sedentary work), despite your current disabilities.

Do I need a disability lawyer?

If your conditions do not meet or equal a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments your SSDI application will generally be denied because the SSA will state they believe you can retrain for new work. If you file an appeal and you hire a disability lawyer they can help you provide information to the SSA that will support your case that you cannot work any job.