Ram Meyyappan of Social Security Disability Help Blog reached out to me to see if he could share his thoughts on how to apply for disability for women with PCOS. While I do believe that this syndrome can be successfully managed do you don’t have to be at a point where you can’t engage in life, I am sure this information may help some Divas who are really struggling.
GUEST POST by Ram Meyyappan
If you suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) then it is likely you also suffer from other associated conditions. PCOS by itself is very unlikely to qualify you for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does take the combine affects of multiple medical conditions into account when evaluating disability claims.
If your concurrent ailments result in severe symptoms that prevent you from maintaining gainful employment, then you may be able to qualify for benefits through one of both of the SSA’s disability programs.
Disability Programs and Basic Eligibility
The SSA has two disability programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
For both programs, you must meet the basic medical and technical eligibility criteria. To satisfy the basic medical requirements, you must:
- Suffer from a formally diagnosed medical condition
- Have a condition that has been present for at least a year or is expected to last at least that long, or which is terminal.
The technical eligibility criteria you must meet are as follows:
- For SSDI, you must have sufficient work history during which you accumulated work credits by paying into the SSD bund through Social Security taxes (FICA). For more information on the work credits necessary, visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi
- For SSI, you must have very limited income and other financial resources. For more information on the income and asset limit, visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssi/qualify-for-ssi
Disability Determination and PCOS
Once the SSA has determine you meet the basic qualification criteria for disability, they will review your application and you medical records in depth to determine if your PCOS and related conditions are severe enough to prevent you from earning a living through employment in any position for which you would otherwise be qualified.
The first step is to review your documentation under the guidelines for the listing of the condition within its Blue Book; however, there is no dedicated listing for PCOS. This means the SSA will need to take further review steps to determine the severity of the symptoms you suffer and the affect that they have on your everyday abilities, including your ability to perform normal job duties. To accomplish this, a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation will be necessary.
Both you and your physician will need to fill out RFC report forms. These forms detail your activities of daily living and establish limitations on those activities, based on the level of impairment from which you suffer as a result of your PCOS and any concurrent medical conditions. If your level of impairment is severe enough to prevent you from working in any job for which you would otherwise be qualified, then you will be found eligible to receive SSDI and/or SSI.
Evaluation of PCOS Related Impairments
If you do have other medical conditions along with your PCOS, your medical records and application must also contain thoroughly documented details of the symptoms you experience and how those symptoms affect your ability to work as well.
Some conditions commonly seen in PCOS patients are among the SSA’s listing of impairments. This means you may be able to qualify for benefits based primarily on one of your other ailments.
Even if you cannot meet the listing for a different condition, the SSA must still review those impairments under their corresponding Blue Book listings (http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm). Following are a few of the listings that may apply to your claim:
- Sleep apnea – Section 3.10
- High blood pressure – Section 4.00H1
- Liver inflammation – Section 5.05
- Type 2 diabetes – Section 9.00
- Depression – Section 12.02
Even if your concurrent medical conditions do not meet the listing in the Blue Book, you may still be able to qualify for disability benefits. The SSA will review the affects of these conditions through RFC analysis as well. If the combined effects of all your impairments are severe enough to prevent gainful employment, then you will be found eligible for SSD.
Applying for Disability Benefits
You can apply for benefits online via the SSA’s website (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/) or you can complete your application at your local SSA office. Either way, you should ensure you collect as many of your medical records as possible and submit them along with your application. This will decrease the wait for benefits, as the SSA will not need to request as many of your medical records from your treating physician(s).
Even without any administrative or research-related delays, you should be prepared to wait at least four months for a decision on your application. Some take much longer. You should also be prepared to receive a denial notice and to file appeals to continue trying for benefits, as most applicants are initially denied. An advocate or attorney can assist you through the appeals process or even with the initial application if you choose to hire an attorney during the initial application.
Ram Meyyappan is the senior editor and manager of Social Security Disability Help. Social Security Disability Help is an informational resources on all things related to social security disability benefits. It contains information on how to a apply with over 400 disabling conditions as well as a forum where you can have your questions answered.
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