I frequently receive emails and comments on my YouTube channel from folks who want to know if they will be found disabled due to a particular diagnosis. “Will I be found disabled by Social Security if I have a herniated disc/carpal tunnel syndrome/major depression/cirrhosis of the liver, etc., etc.
I am not the only one who gets these questions. A retired judge who I appeared before many times and who knows Social Security disability law as well as anyone answers questions on Quora and he gets this question – apparently from the same person – over and over.
The judge’s answer and mine is the same – you do not win or lose your Social Security claim based on your diagnosis. The right question to ask is whether your symptoms and medication side effects leave you without the capacity to reliably perform simple, entry level work.
Social Security defines disability in these terms. When you appear at a hearing, every question the judge or your attorney asks is focused on your work capacity.
You could have four herniated discs, congestive heart failure and uncontrolled diabetes, but if you are working or can work an 8 hour day, you will not be found disabled. Continue reading →