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Physical Impairments SSDI Attorney

Fresno Man in Wheelchair

Qualifying For Physical Impairments Disability In California

While some injuries and illnesses can quickly lead to an individual becoming disabled, other conditions may progress slowly or become more acute overtime, ultimately culminating in a disability. In either situation, Social Security disability benefits are available to those who have a physical impairment and are unable to work. Nonetheless, the are a number of qualifying rules and regulations, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows strict guidelines. If you or a loved one is coping with a disability, having the advice of an experienced disability benefits attorney is invaluable.

Peña & Bromberg, PLC provides comprehensive legal services to the disabled and their loved ones in San Francisco, Oakland, Bakersfield, Madera, Stockton, Fresno, Sacramento and Modesto and across the Nation. We are well versed in the SSA’s listing of physical impairments and have a proven track record of helping our clients obtain the benefits they deserve.

What is a Physical Impairment?

In order to qualify for disability benefits you must have a physical impairment that prevents you from performing any substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SSA maintains a listing, known as the Blue Book, of qualifying physical impairments for disability benefits. The current listing includes the following physical impairments.

  • Musculoskeletal problems - such as back, joint and muscle injuries
  • Cardiovascular conditions - such as congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and atherosclerosis 
  • Senses and speech issues - such as hearing or vision loss
  • Respiratory ailments - such as COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis or lung cancer
  • Digestive tract disorders, such as liver disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease and genitourinary problems - such as kidney failure, chronic renal failure, organ damage due to diabetes or other medical condition, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer
  • Neurological disorders - such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy
  • Endocrine disorders - such as Type-1 diabetes, Type-2 diabetes, or thyroid cancer
  • Immune system disorders - such as HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Skin disorders - such as certain skin cancers or dermatitis 
  • Hematological disorders - such as hemolytic anemias or bone marrow failure
  • Cancer - certain advanced and metastatic cancers

Additionally, physical impairments that are not included on the list, but that the SSA determines are “medically equal” to a listed impairment, may also qualify for disability benefits.

SSA Guidelines for Disability Benefits

Although the SSA’s listing of qualifying physical impairments is extensive, proving that you have a disability, and navigating the federal bureaucracy is a daunting challenge. At Peña & Bromberg, PLC, we have extensive experience guiding our clients through the claims process and achieving successful outcomes. 

The SSA considers a number of factors in determining whether you have a disability. First, the physical condition preventing you working must be a medical one, that is, it can be diagnosed and described by doctors. The SSA refers to this a “medically determinable.” 

In order to show your condition is medically determinable, your application must include records and statements from your treating physician describing the impairment and how those limitations prevent you from working. Regardless of how serious or disabling your condition is,  it must have lasted, or be expected to last 12 months and prevent you from performing any SGA. The condition will also qualify if is expected to result in your death.

Further, the SSA will first look to whether the physical impairment prevents you from doing the work you did at the time you became disabled, or the last job you had before the onset of the disability. The SSA will then decide whether you are capable of performing another type of substantial gainful work. In making this determination, the SSA will consider you age, education, training and work experience and whether it is likely that you will be able to learn new skills to perform other work.

Ultimately, these determinations hinge on the following five questions:

  • Are you currently working? Although you are allowed to work at the time you apply for benefits, your monthly earnings cannot exceed $1,170 (this amount is adjusted annually).
  • Is your condition severe? The condition must be severe enough to significantly interfere with basic work-related activities.
  • Is your disability included in the SSA’s Blue Book? If your condition is on the list of impairments, you automatically qualify, otherwise your condition must be medically equal to a listed condition.
  • Can you do the same work you did before becoming disabled? If your condition does not interfere with your ability to do the work you did previously, your claim will be denied.
  • Can you do any other type of work? The SSA will determine if you are able to do less physically demanding work if you cannot do the work you did previously.

Why You Should Call Peña & Bromberg, PLC

Our trustworthy attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals seeking disability benefits for physical impairments. We are keenly aware that an injury or illness can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life and ability to work. We are committed to fighting for the rights of the disabled and their families. Our services are performed on a contingency basis, which means we do not receive attorneys fees unless your claim is successful. 

At Peña & Bromberg, PLC, our guiding principle is to treat each client with dignity and respect and always put their best interests first. If you or a loved one has a physical impairment and needs assistance obtaining disability benefits, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.