Nobody has ever set out in life to gain a disability. But through medical misfortune, accidents, and other means, disability is something that frequently happens to us, our friends, or our family members. Some disabilities can be overcome with a little bit of compensation to allow for accessibility. Others, such as being confined to a wheelchair, have gotten slightly easier in our digital world where communication and connection are easier to facilitate.

But other disabilities can be absolutely debilitating and leave the affected individual unable to continue to work and maintain their comfort of living. When this is the case, disability benefits are an option that can help to mitigate the negative consequences of being unable to work due to a disability.

Today we’re going to look at the top five conditions that receive disability benefits. The reason there can be a top five is that not every disability or every case will receive disability benefits. There are strict criteria that must be met in order to qualify, which we will discuss in more detail below. Finally, we’ll explore what options are available should your claim be denied.

What Are the Top 5 Conditions that Receive Disability Benefits?

Any number of conditions could receive disability benefits depending on the severity of them. Many of the worst disabilities are quite rare; so while disabilities of this nature almost always receive benefits, they are too rare to land in the top five.

Instead, when putting together this list, we looked at what disabilities affect the most people and which of these were the most likely to receive disability benefits. With that in mind, the top 5 conditions that receive disability benefits are:

  • Cancer: There are many different types of cancer. Some can be treated, others can’t. Some can be stalled at great cost, while others continue to spread and utterly destroy the host’s system. Those cancers that are severe or incurable may be able to qualify for disability benefits. This is because cancer can restrict movement, require medical equipment and procedures that lay a person out for some time, or even just cause so much pain that normal daily activities seem impossible.
  • Paralysis: Paralysis is often a symptom of a larger medical issue. However, it is an incredibly impactful symptom. Paralysis may affect the lower half of the body or everything from the neck down. Both of these have a major impact on one’s ability to work. However, paralysis doesn’t always need to be quite so extreme. Paralysis of a limb could be impactful enough to result in an inability to work. Other issues arise due to paralysis such as issues with bowels, depression, and loss of sexual function to name just a few.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Affecting over 3 million Americans, degenerative disc disease is a kind of osteoarthritis that affects the spine. Mild cases may only deal with minor back pain while more serious or advanced degenerative disc disease can entirely limit an individual’s ability to perform tasks without immense pain. Because the disease makes it so hard to move, it makes it incredibly difficult to continue to work once it advances.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s disease affects over 200,000 Americans and there is no known cure at this point in time. The disease affects the central nervous system of the body, which controls movement, and this can result in all sorts of weird physical issues ranging from tremors to stiffness and a lack of coordination. Parkinson’s can make it hard to maintain work and therefore disability benefits are often necessary in order to cope.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis might not sound like the most debilitating of conditions but that’s only due to the fact that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and many of them can be quite mild. They cause pain and stiffness, but not overwhelmingly. Unfortunately, the condition often gets worse with age and certain kinds of arthritis result in extreme chronic pain. The condition can grow to the point where not only can the individual not work but they can’t properly look after themselves. So disability benefits are often needed in order to retain support.

Is Anybody Eligible for Disability Benefits?

No. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you need to pass two stringent criteria. First, your condition must be serious enough to warrant the benefits. This typically means that you have a condition that is expected to last and prevent you from working for a year or more.

The other important factor is that you must have paid into Social Security. This means that if you’ve never worked or haven’t worked very much, then the chances are you aren’t going to be able to get disability benefits. This may seem to negatively affect younger individuals, but the time they are required to have worked and paid is less than those 31 years of age and older.

What Happens if My Claim was Denied?

There are any number of reasons that your claim might have been denied. It could be that you simply don’t meet the necessary requirements and so you aren’t eligible. However, it could also be that there was some kind of issue with your application.

You are able to initiate a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of getting the denial. You’ll want to gather as much paperwork and documentation as possible to prove your argument for why you should be approved.

Should I Work with an Attorney?

An attorney that understands the ins and outs of disability benefits can be a great asset. A lot of the time, people assume they aren’t eligible or that it would be too much of a hassle. But a consultation with an attorney can let you know what your chances of being approved are. If you are eligible, then a great disability attorney can help you put together an application that includes all the necessary documentation they’ll want to see in order to approve you. If things don’t work the first time, then your attorney can help you appeal the decision.