SSDI And Gun Control: An Unlikely Tandem

SSDI And Gun Control: An Unlikely Tandem

Some Congressional Republicans feel like eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance should not mean ineligibility to own firearms.

In the wake of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, former President Barack Obama spearheaded a rule that required the Social Security Administration to report recipients to the FBI. Because this information appeared as negative data in background checks, the rule effectively denied these individuals the right to purchase a firearm. Earlier, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the regulation by a wide margin. In the Senate, lawmakers used the Congressional Review Act to reverse the rule; under the CRA, such votes require only a simple majority as opposed to a 60-vote margin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that many disability advocates approved the move, because the existing rule “places an unfair stigma on those with disabilities and violates their constitutional rights.”

What are the Qualifying Conditions for Social Security Disability Insurance?

The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book (a/k/a the Impairment Listing Manual) lists a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional conditions that may qualify as disabling under SSDI rules. Some common ones include:

  • Musculoskeletal issues, such as debilitating and chronic back pain,
  • Cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease and heart failure,
  • COPD, asthma, and other respiratory ailments,
  • Sensory loss,
  • Neurological disorders, including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis,
  • Mental disorders, like autism and depression,
  • Cancer, and
  • Kidney disease.

Skin conditions, digestive issues, and immune system disorders may also qualify. Victims do not necessarily need to suffer from a Blue Book-listed condition to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Procedure in Social Security Disability Insurance Claims

A claimant’s first contact with the Social Security Administration is usually with a state Disability Determination Services (DDS) officer. Basically, this person must determine if the victim has a qualifying condition and if that condition is severe enough to warrant SSDI benefits.

The diagnosis portion is usually rather straightforward, because to satisfy the DDS officer, the victim must have a current diagnosis. If the condition is listed in the Blue Book, this inquiry normally ends there. If the victim has a similar condition that’s not actually listed in the current Blue Book, a statement from the diagnosing physician explaining the condition and how it affects the victim’s everyday life usually fulfills this requirement.

Next, the DDS must conclude that the condition is disabling. This process is a little more subjective, because “disability” can mean different things in different contexts. Usually, the DDS looks at both the severity of the condition and the victim’s background. For example, a coal miner with severely limited range of motion in one shoulder is probably disabled, but an academic professor with a similar condition is probably able to work.

Victims with disabling conditions are often entitled to cash benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer in Franklin, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. Home and hospital visits are available.