Document All of Your Medical Conditions
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) general medical eligibility requirements state that an applicant must have a condition listed in the Blue Book—or guide of disabling conditions. However, some applicants do not. The SSA has provisions for handling the review of those applications that don’t meet Blue Book standards. These include:
- Reviewing an application to see if it closely matches another listed condition in the Blue Book.
- Reviewing all of an applicant’s medical conditions to determine if they severely limit his or her abilities to qualify for disability benefits despite not matching or meeting a listing in the Blue Book.
While some applications for Social Security Disability benefits clearly and unmistakably match a listed condition, most in fact, do not. This means the odds are strong that your application will need to be reviewed as an “exception” to the general medical eligibility rules. During this “exception” review, all of your medical conditions will be taken into account to determine your eligibility.
An applicant that has thorough documentation of multiple conditions will have a better chance of being approved than an applicant that only has one documented condition. This is because:
- The SSA takes into account the affects of each of the conditions an applicant has, even if none of them meet or match a listed condition in the Blue Book.
- The SSA attempts to determine the combined effects of all the conditions an applicant suffers from and whether or not the combination is enough to prevent him or her from maintaining gainful employment.
Documenting each of your medical conditions—even those that may not have a significant effect on your daily abilities, is important. Missing or insufficient information can cause issues with your application, including:
- Failing to include those other conditions in the information you present in your application can delay the review of your claim.
- Failing to submit medical records about the other conditions you have can also result in significant delays, as the SSA will need to obtain those records from your physicians and other healthcare providers before being able make a final decision on your eligibility to receive SSD benefits.
- Inadequate medical records can also mean the SSA will require an independent evaluation of your medical condition(s) by a contracted physician, which can also contribute to delays in the processing of your claim for benefits.
The combined effects of all your medical conditions can make a significant difference in your overall ability to gain and maintain employment. Multiple medical conditions can compound the day-to-day symptoms and side affects you face.
This means that a lesser condition is no less important to your disability claim than the main condition on which you’re filing for benefits. It is important that the SSA sees this when reviewing your application and supporting medical records to determine your eligibility.