Disability attorneys are always advertising that they can help you. And they can — if you meet certain requirements. The biggest requirement, of course, is that you have one of thousands of disabling conditions on the Social Security Administration's "list."
This master list has everything from fibromyalgia, lupus, and muscular dystrophy, to all forms of cancer, and all major mental illnesses. However, having one or more of the official diagnoses on the list is not enough for automatic approval for Social Security Disability benefits. If you have already attempted to apply for benefits based on your diagnosis or diagnoses, and you were denied, here is why.
Almost All First-Time Filings Are Denied
Not surprisingly, almost all first-time claims filed for benefits with SSA are denied. This is a government agency that keeps its purse strings tight, and with the ever-dwindling amount of money available in the Social Security trust set up by Franklin Delano Roosevelt almost a hundred years ago means that SSA is cracking down on any claims that are not of "immediate importance." Filing for benefits on your own will most certainly end up with your claim denied.
People With Chronic Illnesses Have Been Fighting for Years
With the exception of cancer, other people have been fighting for Social Security benefits for years. Sometimes it may have something to do with the amount of work credits you have accumulated toward your retirement years. Sometimes it has nothing to do with work credits, and everything to do with the fact that you are attempting to file without a lawyer's help, and that leaves you vulnerable to how the Social Security system typically operates. Even if you have a debilitating condition accompanied by other debilitating conditions, it may still not be enough because of the record numbers of denials of first-time filing cases and the almost equally awful denials of first-time appeals.
The List Is Really Just a Guideline for SSA Caseworkers
The SSA disability list was established as a guideline for SSA caseworkers. New disabling conditions are added all the time because the caseworkers need to reference something in their determination of people's benefits, and if a particular diagnosis was not on the list, people were automatically denied. This used to happen a lot more because the list was limited to just certain physical conditions like polio and traumatic brain injury. Then caseworkers did not know how to categorize things like lupus, bipolar disorder, or fibromyalgia, which have only recently been added to the list and were previously denied. Get help from a lawyer, or you will find yourself in an endless argument with SSA caseworkers over your medical condition(s).