So many injuries and diseases can make an individual permanently disabled. Some of these disability conditions result from accidents, while others stem from age or underlying health issues.
However, to be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you will have to prove that your condition is severe enough to meet the SSA’s definition of a disability. The SSA uses a five-step process to determine if an applicant is disabled. This is known as the “sequential evaluation process.” Each step consists of a question to the applicant which may or may not lead the SSA to conclude the applicant is disabled. If they cannot come to a conclusion, they will move on to the next question.
The following five questions are asked during this process:
1. Are you currently working?
If you are presently working and earn more than the maximum amount set by the SSA, you are usually not considered disabled.
2. Is your present condition severe?
For the claim to be considered, your condition has to be severe enough to significantly interfere with basic work-based activities. However, when it only has a minor effect on work-related activities, you are not considered disabled by the Social Security Administration.
3. Does your disability feature in the list of disabling conditions?
The Social Security Administration considers a long list of medical conditions to be qualifying disabilities. The SSA’s Blue Book lists all of the impairments that are so severe that they automatically entitle an applicant to Social Security benefits.
If your condition is not included in the list, it is up to the Social Security Administration to decide whether that condition is equally severe to the medical conditions already listed. If the Social Security Administration finds it as extreme as the ailments on the list, you will be considered disabled.
4. Will you be able to carry on with the work that you previously did?
When your condition is quite severe but not as painful as the other medical conditions mentioned on the list, the Social Security Administration will determine whether your condition affects your ability to carry on with the work you previously did. Your claim will not be approved if it does not affect your capability to carry out your previous work.
5. Are you fit to do other kinds of work?
Suppose you cannot carry on with the work that you previously did. In that case, the Social Security Administration will consider whether you are still fit to get involved in a less mentally and physically demanding job.
The Social Security Administration will consider your age, medical conditions, education, transferable skills, and past work experiences. When you cannot adjust to any other kind of work due to your age or any other factors, the claim will likely be approved. For example, if your limitations stop you from even working a sedentary office job, your claim might get approved.
However, when you can adjust to other kinds of work, and if there is any work that will fit your limitations and restrictions, the disability claim could get denied.
Securing Social Security disability benefits involves a long and complicated procedure that can be made a lot easier with the help of an experienced Disability Lawyer.