What Does a Disability Look Like?

What Does a Disability Look Like?

Each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) awards claims to over 750,000 newly disabled workers.  This means that over 750,000 people are successful in claiming an SSDI award because they are or were physically or mentally unable to work anymore due to an injury or illness.  

To have found success, these claimants must have demonstrated to the Social Security Administration what disability looks like for them.  You can do this too!

If you are fighting for your claim and note sure if SSDI is the right path, how do you get to the point where you will reach out for help? 

It might be that simply knowing you’re not alone in struggling to identify and express what your disability looks like is all the help you need.  

What barriers do you have that are keeping you from getting a job or keeping that job? How can you speak the language of Social Security?  How can you say what disability looks like for you, in terms they (SSA) use?


What Disability Looks Like in 2016

Muscles, Skeleton, and Tissues:  280,000

(36% of all awards)

The aches and pains that keep you from bending over, squatting, walking, standing or sitting for long periods of time.  Bone deterioration in your back, knees, and other joints.  Muscle injuries, burns, fractures, and amputations.  These are the most common claims and the most awarded.    More here.

Mental Health: 124,500

(16% of all awards)

This is a broad range of challenges that together are the second most common in SSDI claims.  Mental disorders include mood disorders, lapses of time or place, confusion, memory challenges, schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, autism spectrum disorders, developmental disorders, and intellectual disability.

 More here.

Circulatory / Cardiovascular: 85,500

(11% of all awards)

 These concern the arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic systems.  Think heart failure, heart disease, stroke, aneurysm, arterial disease…   More on these here.

Neo-Plasms: 85,500

(11% of all awards)

Cancers are classified by Social Security under this term.  A breakdown of how Social Security looks at cancer – including treatment and impairment can be found here.

Nervous System & Sense Organs: 62,500

(8% of all awards)

Sense organs include the eyes and ears.  Total or partial blindness or deafness are typical claims within this category.  Nervous system disorders include epilepsy, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, meningitis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease.

Other: 140,000

(18% of all awards)

At least 140,000 claimants each year don’t meet any of the criteria above.


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