While proving disability may seem like a universal task, the journey can be widely different for individuals based on the disability claim types presented by their health challenges. This article will lay out a few of the major categories and types of disability claims, and the special challenges and opportunities involved in each kind. To learn more about disability, please visit the OBF Knowledge Base or OBF TV for additional insight and background into the subject of Social Security Disability. If you would like to discuss your case with an attorney for free, please contact the Marietta, Georgia attorneys of O’Brien & Feiler.
Mental Health Disability Claim Types
Many individuals face long term disability based on severe mental health issues. These cases can be more challenging to win, given the subjective nature of the illness. Judges prefer to see long standing treatment relationships with mental healthcare professionals, which demonstrates objectively the true severity of the illness. Of course, if a claimant is forced by their illness to receive inpatient psychiatric treatment at a facility in a somewhat regular fashion, this certainly adds strength to these otherwise difficult claims based solely on mental health. Illicit alcohol and drug use will often derail otherwise promising claims due to the assumed cause and effect nature of mental health issues and the abuse of illegal substances or abuse of alcohol. Claimants who may be struggling with illicit use of substances are strongly advised to contact their health care professional to seek written confirmation of any medical opinion that might indicate that the substance use is a by-product, rather than the cause of the claimed mental disease.
Spine and Joint Disability Claim Types
Perhaps the most common forms of disability involve lack of mobility and chronic pain from severe degeneration and/or injury of the spine, hips, and other weight bearing joints. Individuals over age 50 and with a history of unskilled work are frequently in a good position to win their claim if they have sufficient documentation (imaging, functional capacity evaluations, range of motion testing) showing they are limited, because of their illnesses, to work at the sedentary level. Even younger individuals may be able to successfully pursue a case on these grounds if there is adequate documentation of chronic pain that prevents full time employment, as well as debilitating effects from chronic narcotic pain medication.
Cardiac & Respiratory Disability Claim Types
Many individuals suffer from chronic shortness of breath from diseases of the lungs or heart. Claimants with heart disease are advised, if possible, to ask their doctor for whether their heart is too weak to allow them to perform an exercise stress test. If the doctor answers in the affirmative, ensure that this fact is included in your treatment notes and subsequently entered into evidence. Claimants in this category are also advised to always inform their doctor at every visit their difficulties in sustaining their breath when performing activity or at rest. Disability judges pay close attention to ejection fraction percentages for heart patients, and also pay close attention to lung filling capacity with respiratory patients.
Kidney & Abdominal Disability Claim Types
Claimants in this category can often win their claim if lab results show severe chemical issues involving the kidneys or liver. As always, seeing your doctor is critical in order to consistently document failure of these vital organs. Imaging such as endoscopies, colonoscopies, CT scans, and other testing may also add insight regarding the severity of the conditions being treated.
Arthritis, Lupus, MS, Neuropathy, and Immuno-Based Disability Claim Types
Arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and other similar disease can causes debilitating and diffuse pain, making full time work impossible. However, Claimants should be aware that although these disease make work impossible, objective documentation of the functional impact of these diseases is not as clear cut. Claimants in this category are therefore strongly advised, if possible, to have a doctor that they trust write an explanatory letter detailing exactly how their disease(s) prevent range of motion of their limbs, use of the hand(s), fatigue, and the severity and extent of body pain. Additionally, testing that includes trigger point determinations, range of motion measurements, and serum reactivity can be pivotal.
Childhood Disability Claim Types
Proving the disability of a disabled child under the age of 18 can be a complex procedure because the vocational aspects of a case do not apply. The best way to improve a child’s chances of winning his or her case it so seek regular and continuous therapy for developmental issues. Other documents such as school records, 504 plan documents, IEPs, and even transcripts showing participation in special education may be quite insightful to a disability examiner or judge. Be sure to keep your disability attorney’s office well aware of your child’s specific developmental needs, treatment, and be sure to submit all school report cards and other documentation from your child’s school indicating how they are performing relative to state standards, and with regard to their behavior / persistence.
There are many other kinds of claims not listed here, including individuals suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, hearing loss or blindness, traumatic brain injury, and a host of other maladies. If you are in Georgia, you can consult with O’Brien & Feiler free of charge and seek the best approach to win a Social Security Disability claim. For detail about each disability listing, visit the official SSA website.