If I have plantar fasciitis can I apply for disability benefits?
Plantar Fasciitis can be a very painful condition that does limit ones ability to comfortably walk or stand. However, it would be very unlikely to result in an approval for Social Security Disability benefits without other contributing conditions that limit your ability functional abilities.
That said, most individuals who file an application for disability benefits in the SSD or SSI program will typically list a number of medical conditions (physical, mental, or both) when they initiate their claim. And the more conditions a person lists, the more potential limitations may result when a disability examiner or a disability judge at a hearing rates the claimant's RFC, or residual functional capacity, which is an interpretation of what the individual is still able to do, and unable to do, in light of their overall condition.
Social Security Disability is based on functionality rather than a specific medical condition or conditions. The condition has to so severely limit your functional capability that it prevents or limits most daily activities. Additionally, you must have objective medical evidence (i.e. x-rays, ct scans, mri images) that supports or confirms the severity your medical condition. It is important that you have a medical history that includes a diagnosis, lists various treatments, response to treatments, what, if any, medications are being prescribed, and a prognosis. All of this will be used to evaluate the severity of your condition and what limits it might impose on your ability to perform work.
Social Security's five-step sequential disability evaluation process compares your limitations to the requirements of any job that you performed for six months or more in the fifteen years previous to becoming disabled. If all of your past work can be ruled out, disability examiners consider other kinds of work. You can only be found disabled if your limitations are so severe that they preclude all substantial work activity (SGA).
In summary, you can apply for disability with any disabling condition including plantar fasciitis. However, it is unlikely that plantar fasciitis alone would lead to a finding of disabled. The Social Security Disability process is a permanent disability program and disability applicants have a very high threshold to meet in order to be approved for disability.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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