Social Security Disability – Proving You Are Disabled

In the State of Florida, just 46 percent of applicants for Social Security Disability benefits will have their claims approved. While appealing is possible, many people are not awarded benefits. To maximize the chances of being awarded benefits, it is important to understand what is involved in proving you are disabled.

The Social Security Administration has a very narrow definition of disability for purposes of qualifying for benefits. In order to prove you are disabled, you must demonstrate you have a condition that has lasted 12 months, that will last for 12 months, or that is terminal. You must also not be engaged in substantial gainful activity, defined as earning more than a set amount monthly (the maximum earnings amount varies annually).

Proving you are disabled also requires you to show you have a condition listed on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments, or that your condition is equivalent in severity to listed conditions. This Listing is informally referred to as the Blue Book, and there are different lists for adult and childhood conditions. For each listed condition, the Social Security Administration describes symptoms which must accompany that particular condition.  

You will need to provide comprehensive medical records demonstrating that you have a listed condition or a condition that is equally severe. Your records should demonstrate the treatments you have received and the extent and frequency of symptoms. It is best to provide records from a treating physician who is an expert in the type of medicine related to your disability. For example, if you are making a claim for disability based on a cardiac condition, you should provide records from your treating cardiologist when proving you are disabled.