What Is Severe Impairment
The Social Security Administration will only grant disability benefits to someone that has a severe impairment and meets the criteria set by the SSA.
A severe impairment as defined by the SSA is an impairment that significantly limits the individual’s physical or mental abilities and makes it impossible for them to perform the duties of their job, or any job.
In order to prove that your condition or illness qualifies as a severe impairment and makes it impossible for you to work it’s necessary to submit as much medical evidence as possible.
Medical evidence like X-rays, CAT scans, lung function tests, kidney function tests, vision tests, biopsies, and more help to establish that your condition qualifies as a severe impairment because of the measurable impact it has on your ability to do everyday tasks or to do the job that you’ve been doing.
Severe Impairment Examples
Severe impairments according to the Social Security Administration are conditions that limit your ability to move, sit, stand, speak, see, or do other tasks that are necessary to work. Some conditions that the SSA considers severe impairments are:
- Mental disorders.
- Immune system disorders.
- Skin disorders.
- Digestive system disorders.
- Hemic and lymphatic system disorders.
- Respiratory system disorders.
- Musculoskeletal system disorders.
- Cardiovascular system disorders.
For example, if you have severe anxiety that makes you unable to speak to people on the phone but speaking on the phone is part of the job that you’ve been doing your anxiety is considered a severe impairment because it limits your ability to do your job.
When an individual applies for Social Security Disability benefits, the individual must be able to prove that he or she has a severe impairment that leaves them unable to perform substantial gainful work activity. If an individual does not suffer from a severe impairment, the SSA will not approve the applicant for Social Security Disability benefits.
There are different ways in which an individual can prove that he or she is suffering from a severe impairment in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to qualify, the individual must have sufficient objective medical evidence showing that he or she suffers from one or more impairments that result in an inability to work. Even if the impairments that an individual suffers from, each alone, do not qualify the individual for Social Security Disability benefits, the individual may still qualify for benefits if the condition of the individual is determined to be a severe impairment when those conditions are combined.
A severe impairment, defined by the SSA, is an impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limit the individual’s physical or mental abilities and, as a result, interfere with the individual’s ability to perform basic work activities. If an impairment or combination of impairments does not significantly limit the individual’s ability to work, the SSA will determine that the individual is not suffering from a severe impairment and that individual will be denied the Social Security Disability benefits that they are applying for.
Next Steps to Take
In many cases, if you are filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, it is worth working with a Social Security Disability attorney in order to increase your chances of approval. This attorney will understand what evidence the SSA needs in order to determine that there is indeed a severe impairment, which can increase your chances of receiving an approval of benefits during the initial stage of the application process.