In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you have to prove that you have a physical or mental condition severe enough to keep you from working for at least one year. So, your diagnosis will be very important because no judge will believe that a simple muscle sprain will keep you from working that long. Most judges will believe that a herniated disc or cancer, or major reconstructive surgery, could be severe enough to keep you off work for a long time.
There is another reason why your diagnosis matters, and you may not have ever heard of it. The SSA calls it a “listing.” A listing is a list of certain diagnoses that can be an automatic qualifier for disability benefits if you have the right symptoms.
For example, if you have something wrong with your spine, like a herniated disc or stenosis, AND your MRI shows nerve root compression, AND you have pain, range of motion loss, muscle weakness, sensory or reflex loss, AND a positive straight leg raise test, then you might be an automatic qualifier.
There’s no need for you to know how to prove any of that. These are all things your lawyer and doctor can get put on paper for you. What’s important to know is that your symptoms are just as important as your diagnosis. This is because you might have a herniated disc in your spine, but if it is not causing any symptoms, then it is not affecting your ability to work
It is important to regularly follow up with your doctors so that your symptoms will be documented and the right medical testing can be done. If you have long periods of time between appointments, it makes it more difficult to prove the severity of your condition.
Your diagnosis and your symptoms are both very important to your disability case. If you think you might be an automatic qualifier for social security disability benefits, give us a call and we’ll check it out.