Can I Apply for Social Security Disability if My Condition is Infrequent or Intermittent?

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are set in place to support those unable to work due to a life-changing, long-term medical condition or conditions. Some health impairments only manifest themselves sporadically, and people with these kinds of conditions can still suffer from severe physical or mental health effects that prevent them from performing any work on a consistent basis. 

It is hard to discern whether a specific condition may or may not qualify a person for SSD. While those afflicted with such illnesses are always free to apply, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is very quick to reject all claims that do not meet the basic requirements. If you are suffering from a medical condition that is not continuous, here is what you need to know before you apply for SSD.

SSD Eligibility Requirements

Many people experience severe impairment when their condition manifests. However, if these conditions are intermittent, they may not prevent people from working for an extended period. This is a crucial consideration for the SSA when reviewing applications. If you have not been prevented from working for a minimum of 12 consecutive months or longer, or are not expected to be prevented from working for a minimum of 12 consecutive months or longer, the SSA will determine that you do not meet the basic criteria for SSD benefits.

The SSA first reviews all disabling conditions that appear in the Blue Book, or Medical Listings, which precisely outlines the qualifying requirements of each listed condition. To receive benefits, you must meet or closely match one of the mentioned listings. If you have a condition that does not meet these requirements, obtaining SSD benefits will be much more challenging, by way of a residual functional capacity analysis (RFC).

To be eligible for benefits through the RFC, the SSA usually needs to determine that your health impairment or impairments stop you from getting and keeping any job. This brings us to the next key aspect of the evaluation.

Employment Considerations and Conditions

When deciding on each applicant’s SSD eligibility, the SSA must also consider the person’s overall “employability”. In simple words, they need to determine whether your medical condition or conditions will affect your ability to work effectively and consistently. This is a crucial factor, as the medical condition should not only stop you from working in your career area but also in any other field in the job market (unless you meet certain age and related category requirements). Health conditions that only manifest themselves intermittently can be found to prevent you from working consistently and or effectively enough to maintain employment, and therefore can be found to be disabling.

Consult With an Experienced Disability Attorney

Even a medical condition that is not continuous can significantly affect your ability to earn a living consistently. But, because there are several ways you can get approved for SSD, you should have a solid understanding of what it takes to get approval from the SSA. 

As a former staff attorney with the Social Security Administration, Attorney Sara J. Frankel can advise you and help you decide on the best course of action for your case. If you choose to proceed with your SSD application, Attorney Frankel can help you prepare everything to increase your chances of obtaining benefits and make this stressful process less burdensome. Contact us right away or call 508-730-1451 for a free case evaluation.