Social Security, Disability, and Chicago attorneys

Disability has import across many aspects of modern life. Chicago Workers Compensation is one such form, in which a gainfully employed worker becomes disabled due to an injury at work or as a result of actions/responsibilities at work (in the latter case, this may refer to conditions which develop over time, perhaps undetected until years after leaving the job in question). Disability is usually categorized by severity – partial or total – and duration – temporary or permanent. These aspects of Chicago disability (severity and duration) may be combined in all possible ways: partial temporary disability, total permanent disability, total temporary disability, etc.

In the context of employment and Social Security benefits, disability does not refer – directly, at least – to the severity of the medical condition. Rather, disability a measure of the (loss of) ability to perform particular functions. Regarding employment, then, Chicago disability is the degree to which the ability to perform employment functions are affected.

We can see how this measurement takes into account the severity of the medical condition, but is not directly correlated with it. It is likely that a more severe condition will lead to a more severe degree of disabilty, but not always. For example, consider two medical conditions: a broken arm and terminal cancer. The disparity in severity between these two conditions is immediately striking, but what can we say about their translation into disability?

A broken arm is clearly a disability in many jobs – virtually any job that involves use of the arm or hand. This would apply to physically-oriented jobs such as a line worker or auto mechanic, but also to high tech jobs, such as a computer programmer or graphic designer, whose keyboard skills would be significantly impaired. Additionally, the ability to get to and from work might very well be affected, as a broken arm could have serious implications on driving.

Terminal cancer, as it applies to disability, is a different, less obvious matter. While some forms are very symptomatic and crippling from the onset, just as common are forms which, while detectable by medical tests, have virtually no impact on functioning until the final weeks or months. In this way, terminal cancer may not qualify an individual for disability.

This is surprising and seems somehow unfair, but to come to such a conclusion is to misunderstand the pragmatic nature of disability law. By narrowing the definition of disability to include only applied capacities, any subjective aspects and burdens of determining which of any number of terrible medical conditions is “worse” are eliminated. The determination is made on one simple criteria, the same criteria by which the individual in question has been judged on his/her job duties long before the questions of disability arose: can he/she do this job?

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, illness or death that prevents you from working, call VanDerGinst Law at 1-866-843-7367 or click here for a FREE online case evaluation. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we agree to handle your injury case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if, and when, there is a money recovery for you. In many cases a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. So please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.