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Reporting Multiple Disability Conditions on a Social Security Claim

How to Approach Social Security with Multiple Disability Conditions

Are you applying for social security with multiple conditions, but aren’t sure which one to report? Many applicants for disability-based programs believe they have to claim one aspect of their overall health concerns to designate as the disability they want to be considered. While a common belief, it is a misconception.  Social Security will look at all health concerns–both physical and mental–in making their decisions. This also includes any side effects you may experience from medication, especially if it limits your ability to perform work-like functions.

Additional Tips: 5 Reasons Why Social Security Claims are Denied

Medically Determinable Impairments

Social Security Disability applications seek to capture medical conditions that have the greatest impact on your ability to work.   This list serves as a starting place for Social Security’s review of your medical records, but is not the only condition to be considered. Records are reviewed for any medically determinable impairment, including multiple conditions or older impairments. In other words, those things your doctor(s) have diagnosed within the medical file.

Severe Disability Conditions


Medically determinable impairments are considered severe if they impact your overall ability to perform work-like activities. Severe impairments would impact your ability to do things like: sit, stand, walk, lift and carry, bend, stoop, kneel, crouch, etc. on the physical side.


On the psychological side, worker functions include understanding and remembering instructions, carrying out those instructions, persistence tasks, concentrating on tasks, meeting pace standards, working with others, meeting basic worker standards for behavior and cleanliness, etc.

Reporting multiple conditions can be especially challenging if there are both physical and psychological impairments to consider. An experienced professional can help make sure that none of your qualifications are under-represented.

Residual Functioning Capacity

Once severe impairments are identified in the medical records, Social Security will look for indications of the degree of limitation that each condition imposes on that work-like activity. For example, a diagnosis of Lumbar spinal stenosis could certainly impact one’s ability to sit, stand, and walk.  The degree of this limitation is gauged based on complaints of numbness, tingling, limited range of motion, strength loss, reflex loss, x-rays, MRI reports, etc. For psychological conditions, Social Security might look at tests for concentration, memory recall, attention, or mood instability. Each condition will have its own testing standards.

The degree of limitation from each condition is used to determine your Residual Functioning Capacity. In other words: the most you can do despite all of your conditions. This, in turn, is compared to the minimum capacity required by employers. If you can’t meet an employer’s minimum standards–you are approved. If you can meet the minimum requirements, you are denied. Social Security’s decision reflects their opinion about what you can do, but it is subject to disagreement through the appeal process.

Here’s How Our Disability Representative Can Help!

As a local representative, our disability advocate will know your case from start to finish. We’ll be involved every step of the way, and you’ll speak to the same person every time. Our goal is to make your case the easiest one to approve.

For that reason, we don’t just fine-tune what you have and put it together in a cut-and-paste format. We’ll meticulously review your case and provide feedback on the weak areas of your application and offer clear directions on what information we need and where you can find them.

Whether you’ve already begun the application process or are just getting started, we encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation to help determine the best strategy for your case. Our mission is to eliminate the red tape and mountains of paperwork so you can focus on your health and the things that matter.

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