Many Indiana residents struggle for years with physical or mental conditions that not only impact their personal lives but also make working stressful, difficult or all but impossible. They may seek treatment and find that, indeed, medical professionals concur that they have a medically determinable condition. When the tedium becomes too much to endure or the condition worsens, an individual might for Social Security Disability only to have their claim denied. This seeming contradiction is very much routine procedure within the SSD system.
To be certain, a medical condition must be certifiable through medical records for the Social Security Administration to find a claimant disabled, and some well-defined, severe medical conditions almost always qualify as disabling. But the majority of claimants have symptoms of a condition or multiple conditions that don’t fit so nicely into a specific category of textbook conditions. For those claimants, SSD experts indicate that the SSA looks more to the person’s functional ability rather than the bare medical condition.
Functional ability means what type of work, if any, the claimant is able to do despite the limitations of his or her medical condition. The SSA looks primarily to the claimant’s most relevant work within the 15 years prior to filing the claim and also the types of jobs that may be available in the national economy for that person’s age, education and skills. The claimant’s own doctor’s findings are given some deference by the SSA, but the organization also may request an independent medical evaluation as well as input from a vocational expert to further make its determination.
The SSD is a complex maze of rules and regulations. Denials upon initial applications regularly exceed 50%. However, the SSD appeals process allows a claimant to be represented by a lawyer. Indianapolis, Indiana, attorneys handling Social Security disability may be able to fully explain the process.