How Chronic Illness Impacts Your Social Security Disability Application

Written by John Horn. Posted in Blogs

Chronic-Illness-Social-SecurityIf you have a chronic illness, you’re familiar with the ups and downs of your daily life. Many people who are chronically ill get used to living with both bad days and good days, and they try to function as well as possible despite the recurring symptoms.

However, sometimes a chronic illness gets so out of control that there are no longer good days, or they are few and far between. If your illness prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You can talk to a lawyer from Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law, to see if you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

What Is a Chronic Illness?

A chronic illness lasts at least three months, cannot be prevented or cured, and does not resolve itself. Examples include:

  • Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis with Complications
  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma, COPD

Though these disease cannot be cured, they can often be managed. Most patients work with their doctors to find medications that control the diseases’ progress, alleviate their symptoms, and many also use lifestyle changes like diet and exercise to improve their quality of life.

However, even with the best treatment, sometimes chronic illness can still spiral out of control and lead to debilitating symptoms. When you can no longer work because of your chronic illness, you may be able to turn to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits.

How Can You Qualify for Social Security?

Social Security disability benefits rely on the following criteria:

  • Current work. If you still have a job now and make more than $1,170 per month, you won’t be considered disabled.
  • Severity of condition. If your chronic illness doesn’t have a severe impact on your ability to do your job, you won’t qualify.
  • Recognized disability. The Social Security Administration recognizes a list of certain medical conditions that may automatically qualify for disability. Other conditions will not be automatically accepted and must be reviewed.
  • Ability to perform previous job duties. Depending on your age, SSA reviews whether or not your illness interferes with your previous job’s duties. If your illness is severe, but doesn’t impact those specific duties, you won’t qualify for benefits.
  • Ability to perform new job duties. The SSA will also consider if you could find a new job that would be possible to perform with your chronic illness. For example, if your background is in a physically demanding job you can’t perform now, but you could manage a desk job, the SSA may deny your claim and advise you to try different work.

If you meet these five criteria, and if your doctor expects you to be off work for at least a year, you should qualify for benefits.


Social Security’s requirements for disability benefits are complex, especially for those who suffer from chronic illness. Don’t try to figure out your application on your own. Speak to the experienced attorneys and staff at Horn & Kelley. We know what information you need to prove your case and can walk you through the process. Call us today to get started.


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Tinley Park, IL 60477

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With locations in Tinley Park, IL; La Grange, IL; Chicago, IL; & Highland, IN, getting started on your Social Security Disability claim has never been easier.

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