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Serious health condition when do I apply for SSDI benefits?

Recently on our forum a user asked, “I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I was wondering when I should apply for SSDI? Although I can still work, I know that I have a serious health condition that may eventually be disabling.” social-security-disability-benefits

Questions to ask before applying for SSDI benefits for a serious health condition

  1. Can I continue to work?
Before deciding whether or not to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) after a diagnosis for any serious health condition you need to ask yourself whether or not you can continue to perform what the SSA considers substantial gainful activity (SGA work) it does not matter what condition you have, the Social Security Administration will consider you not disabled if you continue to work at a substantial and gainful level.
  1. What do I need to do to prepare to go on disability?
Although you may continue to work and delay applying for SSDI benefits after a serious health condition diagnosis that does not mean that you should do nothing. In fact, because it can take months or years for some applicants to win SSDI benefits, there are several important steps you should take after a diagnosis. First, make sure to go to the doctor and get a good diagnosis and prognosis. Some serious health conditions may be temporary and never qualify for SSDI benefits, while others may be minor, gradually progressing as time passes. This is especially true for certain degenerative diseases such as ALS or multiple sclerosis.
  1. Do I have sufficient medical evidence to prove I am disabled?
Another important consideration before applying for SSDI for a serious health condition is to evaluate whether your medical evidence is sufficient to win benefits. Specifically, the SSA will be looking for information which proves your condition is so severe it either meets a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments or does not leave you enough mental or physical residual capacity to work. For example, multiple sclerosis is found under Listing 11.00 Neurological, Section 11.09. To meet a listing for this condition you must prove you have “disorganization of motor function as described in 11.04B; or Visual or mental impairment as described under the criteria in 2.02, 2.03, 2.04, or 12.02; or Significant, reproducible fatigue of motor function with substantial muscle weakness on repetitive activity, demonstrated on physical examination, resulting from neurological dysfunction in areas of the central nervous system known to be pathologically involved by the multiple sclerosis process.”
  1. Do I have sufficient funds to support myself while I wait for disability?
Assuming your condition meets a listing and you are approved immediately for your serious health condition, you may not have to consider a break income. Other claimants, who have a serious health condition but who do not have sufficient medical evidence to prove their case, may be denied the first time they apply and have gather more medical evidence to appeal their case. With this in mind, it’s critical to save all the money you can to support yourself while you wait for benefits. Bottom Line: Getting a diagnosis for a serious health condition does not mean you have to stop working and immediately apply for SSDI. Most claimants should work as long as they are able. While they are working, however, there are steps they need to take: get good medical care, document your capacity to work, save money and make sure you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you wait for your benefits to be approved.