The Law Center For Social Security Disability
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How does having multiple impairments effect my disability claim?

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to Oklahomans and people across the U.S. who meet the requirements based on the federal regulations. These can be confusing, especially if the person has several impairments and is uncertain of whether they are of sufficient severity to warrant an approval. The mistake people make in these circumstances is misunderstanding the way the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes its decisions. If a person has multiple impairments, the SSA assesses the case differently than if the person has a single impairment.

If the impairments are unrelated and severe, the SSA cannot combine them, so the applicant will meet the duration requirement of 12 months. If the person is suffering from a severe impairment or more than a single severe impairment, and these are not expected to last for the 12-month duration, the claim will be denied despite the impairments meeting the 12-month duration when they are combined.

If the person is suffering from at least two impairments at the same time -- concurrent impairments -- and they are severe, the SSA will then determine if their combined effect will continue at that level of severity for 12 months. If there is improvement in one or more and the impairment is no longer severe, the person does not meet the requirements to be approved.

With the combined effect of the impairments, the SSA will consider all the effects of the impairments and not factor in whether they are sufficiently severe, if they are assessed separately. If it is found that the combination of impairments is medically severe, the SSA will consider their combined effects when it makes its determination. Should the person be found not to have a combination of impairments that are medically severe, the claim will be denied.

As the rules for those suffering from multiple impairments show, getting SSD benefits can sometimes be complicated. That, however, does not necessarily mean that a person will be denied.

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

414 NW 4th Street Suite 140
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Phone: 405-896-8852
Fax: 405-272-0367
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