Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Has Anyone Ever Received Social Security Disability for...?

I tend to come across statements like this in forums that are devoted to the discussion of various medical impairments. Has anyone ever received disability for PCOS?, Is chronic fatigue considered a disability?, Does social security award disability benefits for autism?, Is it possible to get SSI for attention deficit?.... The list, of course, goes on and on.

It's understandable that people would wonder about their potential eligibility for disability benefits on the basis of having a specific condition. However, the entire social security disability process is based on functionality. And what that means is this: the condition you have is not the real issue for rendering a decision on a disability case. The real issue behind each disability determination is what a claimant is still capable of doing despite the effects of their illness.

In social security lingo, what a person is still capable of doing, despite their condition, is known as residual functional capacity. And when a claimant's medical records are gathered and evaluated, the entire point is to determine what the person is still capable of doing (despite their illness).

The evaluation of a claimant's medical records is distilled onto something called an RFC form that addresses how much weight a claimant is capable of lifting, how long a claimant is capable of standing of sitting, whether or not a claimant can crouch , or stoop, or reach overhead, and a host of other restrictions that might apply.

What is the purpose of completing this RFC form? To allow the disability examiner who is working on the case to determine whether or not the claimant is capable of performing their past work or is capable of performing some other type of work.

The ability, or inability, to engage in work activity is really at the heart of the social security definition of disability. And it is for this reason that the specific physical or mental condition that a person has is only as important in terms of how it limits their ability to work. And, for this reason, it is concievable that nearly any condition could potentially result in an approval of disability benefits.

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