Law Office of Michael Tonder, P.C.

65 Pineville Road, Suite 2
Monroeville, AL 36460

P.O. Box 337
Excel, AL 36439‎


Severe impairments in Social Security cases

If you’ve applied for Social Security Disability, you are probably well aware of the ups, downs, ins, and outs of the system by now.

It’s complicated.

One of the first issues many claimants run in to is proving they have a severe impairment. In my experience, rural claimants run into this issue frequently due to lack of available health care.  A low income claimant in a rural setting can have difficulty getting back and forth to a clinic, and sometimes the clinic is 30-45 miles away.

The problem is that the claimant has to prove they are disabled. To do so, they first must show they have a medically determinable impairment that is considered severe by Social Security. A person must prove they suffer from a severe impairment before Social Security will go any further when determining whether the claimant is disabled.

But before an impairment can be considered severe, it has to first be found a medically determinable impairment. Social Security defines a medically determinable impairment as “an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.”

In plain English, that means that you have to present medical evidence of a physical or mental impairment. Complaints of a problem without medical evidence will not help the case. Once you present evidence of a medically determinable impairment, Social Security will then consider whether it meets the criteria of a severe impairment. Social Security considers an impairment severe if it causes more than a slight impact on your ability to do basic work activities. At this point, Social Security will consider your complaints of pain and other issues caused by your impairment.

Please give me a call if you are in Monroeville, Evergreen, Atmore, Camden, Thomasville or anywhere in southwest Alabama and need help with your disability claim.

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