Medical conditions and qualifying for disability
Something that many individuals who are filing for disability in Kentucky (or any state: the system is federal) may not be aware of is that getting a disability award for Social Security Disability or SSI is not so much a matter of a person's diagnosed medical conditions, but, instead, the extent to which a condition, or conditions as is usually the case, impacts their ability to do various normal activities which affects their ability to work.
For example, if a person has a shoulder impairment, this may impact their ability to lift or reach which could rule out certain types of work. A memory impairment, or extreme anxiety, or balance problems, or reduced vision or hearing, could likewise rule out certain types of employment.
Therefore, any condition could qualify for disability. It really comes down to the medical evidence and what that evidence has to say about a person's limitations. This is true of all claims that involve what is known as a medical-vocational decision in which both the medical and work histories are examined.
However, there is a type of decision that involves just your medical records and this involves what many refer to as the disability list of impairments. Social Security has impairment listings that provide the criteria needed to meet or equal Social Security Disability and SSI severity requirements. The impairment listings are the same in every state because Social Security is a federal disability program.
Which conditions are covered in the list? Unfortunately, most are not. At the present time, carpal tunnel and fibromyalgia do not have individual listings, though conditions like depression and arthritis are covered. This does not mean, of course, that a person cannot get disability for carpal tunnel syndrome or fibromyalgia; it simply means that the decision process will involve reviewing medical evidence and the individual's work history to determine their work skills and the requirements of their past jobs.
That being said, the basis for all Social Security Disability decisions is residual functional capacity, which can be thought of as "what you are still able to do even with your condition". Meaning you may be able to qualify for disability even if you do not meet or equal an impairment listing, if your disabling condition prevents you from working at either your past work or any other work you could conceivably switch to, based on your age, education, functional limitations, and work skills.
To sum up: If you have a severe medical or mental impairment that prevents you from doing substantial work activity, you may qualify for disability in Kentucky.
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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