musculoskeletal conditions
By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Musculoskeletal conditions encompass a wide range of disorders that affect the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other parts of the musculoskeletal system. These conditions can often lead to debilitating physical limitations, making it challenging for individuals to maintain employment. For those in Florida living with musculoskeletal conditions, seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may provide crucial financial support. In this blog, presented by Disability Advocates Group, we’ll delve into the eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSI claims related to musculoskeletal conditions in Florida.

Understanding Musculoskeletal Conditions

Musculoskeletal conditions, also known as musculoskeletal disorders, can encompass a broad spectrum of health issues, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Tendinitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic back pain

These conditions often cause persistent pain, reduced mobility, and diminished quality of life, which may make it impossible for individuals to work and support themselves financially.

Eligibility for SSDI and SSI Benefits

If you’re living with a musculoskeletal condition in Florida and are unable to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two primary programs that can provide assistance: SSDI and SSI. To qualify for these benefits, you must meet specific eligibility criteria.

1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):

To qualify for SSDI benefits in Florida, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Sufficient Work Credits: You must have earned enough work credits through your employment history to qualify. Work credits are accrued based on your work history, and the number required depends on your age at the time you became disabled.
  • Severe Impairment: You must have a severe musculoskeletal condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA is work that generates a certain level of income and is updated annually.
  • Duration of Disability: Your musculoskeletal condition must be expected to last at least one year or result in death.

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI):

SSI benefits are available to individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Limited Income and Resources: SSI is designed for individuals with limited income and resources. The financial eligibility criteria are strict, and you must demonstrate that you meet these requirements.
  • Disability Status: You must have a severe musculoskeletal condition that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).
  • Duration of Disability: Your condition must be expected to last at least one year or result in death.

Documenting Your Musculoskeletal Condition

To improve your chances of approval for SSDI or SSI benefits in Florida, it’s essential to document your musculoskeletal condition thoroughly. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Consult Medical Professionals:

Visit medical professionals such as orthopedic specialists, rheumatologists, and physical therapists who can diagnose and document your condition. Seek ongoing treatment and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

2. Maintain Comprehensive Medical Records:

Ensure that all medical evaluations, test results, treatments, and medications related to your musculoskeletal condition are accurately recorded in your medical history.

3. Adhere to Treatment Plans:

Consistently follow your prescribed treatment plans and medications. Any deviations can be detrimental to your claim.

4. Keep a Symptom Journal:

Maintain a symptom journal where you record the pain, discomfort, and limitations you experience daily. This can provide additional evidence of the impact of your condition.

5. Provide Objective Medical Evidence:

Include medical imaging reports, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, which can offer objective evidence of your musculoskeletal condition.

6. Gather Witness Statements:

If friends, family members, or colleagues can attest to the limitations your musculoskeletal condition imposes on your daily life and ability to work, their statements can be valuable.

Hiring a Disability Attorney

Navigating the complex process of applying for SSDI or SSI benefits for musculoskeletal conditions in Florida can be challenging. For this reason, many individuals seek legal representation. A disability attorney from Disability Advocates Group can provide invaluable assistance by:

  • Explaining the Process: Attorneys can clarify the eligibility requirements and help you understand what’s expected throughout the application process.
  • Completing Your Application: Your attorney can assist in filling out the application to ensure it’s accurate and comprehensive.
  • Providing Guidance: Attorneys can guide you in gathering the necessary documentation and medical records to strengthen your case.
  • Appeal Support: If your initial application is denied, an attorney can represent you in the appeals process.
  • Ensuring Timely Filing: Your attorney can help you meet important deadlines, reducing the risk of claim denial due to missed timeframes.

Living with a musculoskeletal condition in Florida can be challenging, but SSDI and SSI benefits can provide the financial support you need.  

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.