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New Orleans SSDI Qualifying Conditions Lawyer

 Helping New Orleans and Slidell workers and children qualify for SSDI

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

There are several key requirements to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Generally, you need to have enough work credits and a qualifying disability. A qualifying disability is a medical condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. Some conditions, called impairments, meet the definition of a disability if you can provide medical information that confirms your condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has 14 different categories of impairments. If your medical condition is not on the SSA list of impairments, you can still qualify if you meet other criteria.

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans SSDI and SSI lawyers help applicants show that they have a qualifying disability. We review the criteria that the SSA requires for each type of impairment with your physicians. We then work with your doctors to prepare medical reports that set forth these criteria in detail. If your impairment isn’t on the list, we work with your doctors to help show you have a comparable impairment or a medical condition that otherwise prevents you from working in New Orleans, Slidell, or Southeastern Louisiana.

What is an SSDI disability?

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

The SSA requires that all adults applying for SSDI have a disability that prevents the applicant from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) “by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

For children under 19, disability is a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

The SSA further defines a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment” as a medical condition that can be verified by medically acceptable clinical (such as an oral and physical exam) and laboratory diagnostic tests. Your doctor has to provide specific evidence to show why you have a specific medical condition or impairment. A general summary is not enough.

Generally, local state agencies (disability determination services) make the initial disability determination by examining the applicant’s own medical sources. In some cases, the disability determination service may arrange for their own medical exams.

What is the list of impairments for adults in New Orleans?

Social Security has a specific list of impairments for adults. There are 14 categories. Within each category, there are specific types of impairments. For each adult impairment, the SSA identifies the medical evidence that they’re looking for to verify you have that impairment.

The medical conditions on the list include the following:

  1. Musculoskeletal Disorders. Disorders that may involve the bones or major joints, or may involve the tendons, ligaments, muscles, or other soft tissues.
  2. Special Senses and Speech. Visual disorders are abnormalities of the eye, the optic nerve, the optic tracts, or the brain that may cause a loss of visual acuity or visual fields. This category also includes hearing loss and loss of speech.
  3. Respiratory Disorders. Examples of respiratory disorders include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis asthma, and cystic fibrosis.
  4. Cardiovascular System. These disorders affect the heart or the circulatory system including arteries, veins, capillaries, lymphatic drainage, chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmia, symptomatic congenital heart disease, heart transplant, and other disorders.
  5. Digestive System. “Disorders of the digestive system include gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic (liver) dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, and malnutrition.”
  6. Genitourinary Disorders. These disorders include chronic kidney disease, chronic glomerulonephritis, hypertensive nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy, chronic obstructive uropathy, and hereditary nephropathies.
  7. Hematological Disorders. “These disorders disrupt the normal development and function of white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, and clotting-factor proteins (factors).”
  8. Skin Disorders. This category includes burn injuries and many other types of serious skin disorders.
  9. Endocrine Disorders. These disorders are generally due to a hormonal imbalance.
  10. Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems. This category includes a “non-mosaic” form of Down Syndrome and other congenital disorders.
  11. Neurological Disorders. This category includes epilepsy, ALS, coma or persistent vegetative state (PVS), and other neurological disorders such as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
  12. Mental Disorders. There are 11 different types of disorders in this category including euro-cognitive disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, depressive, bipolar and related disorders, intellectual disorders, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  13. Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases). This category includes most types of cancers with limited exceptions.
  14. Immune System Disorders. This category evaluates “immune system disorders that cause dysfunction in one or more components of your immune system.”

How do you show you have a qualifying disability?


Some of the requirements that SSA looks for in the musculoskeletal disorder category (the first category) include:

  • Disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve root(s)
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in compromise of the cauda equina
  • Reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint
  • Abnormality of a major joint(s) in any extremity
  • Pathologic fractures due to any cause
  • Amputation due to any cause
  • Soft tissue injury or abnormality under continuing surgical management
  • Non-healing or complex fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the talocrural bones
  • Non-healing or complex fracture of an upper extremity

Medical evidence and non-medical evidence are needed to show this disability. Non-medical evidence includes evidence from sources “who can describe how you function, to assess the severity and duration of your musculoskeletal disorder.” Some of this evidence includes:

  • The results of a physical examination including an analysis of your muscle function
  • Imaging tests including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
  • Surgery reports
  • The types of treatment and the effectiveness of those treatments
  • What assistive devices you can use
  • Physical therapy
  • Many other types of evidence including your levels of pain, functional criteria, fine and gross movements, and other evidence
  • Evidence for specific impairments such as amputations, fractures, soft tissue injuries, etc.

What is the list of impairments for children in New Orleans?

The listing of impairments for children includes the following categories:

  • Low Birth Weight and Failure to Thrive
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Special Senses and Speech
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary Disorders
  • Hematological Disorders
  • Skin Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
  • Neurological Disorders

Can I qualify if my medical condition is not on the list?

If your medical condition is not on the list of impairments, you can qualify if you can show that your condition is severe enough to prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity for a year or is expected to result in death. The SSA will review all your medical evidence and the type of work you did – and might be able to do – to decide if you have a qualifying disability.

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans SSDI lawyers work with your physicians to show that, even if your disability isn’t on the SSA list of impairments, you are still entitled to benefits.

Do you have an SSDI qualifying conditions lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two offices  located in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Call our respected New Orleans SSDI qualifying condition lawyers now

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we understand how diseases and medical disorders make life extremely difficult. We’ll work with your physicians to show that your medical conditions match a listed impairment or prevents you from working. To discuss your right to SSDI, please call us or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our New Orleans and Slidell Social Security disability lawyers have the experience you need.