Your Source For Disability Information

Social Security Disability Benefits












The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a formalized process of determining whether or not you are disabled under their strict definition based on limited criteria that can be answered in five simple questions.

The national¬†long term disability attorneys at Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC explain that the ¬†SSA’s definition of “disability” is based on your inability to work. You must be unable to perform the work that you did before, be unable to adjust to other work due to your medical condition, and your disability must have lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death. You also must have worked for long enough and recently enough under Social Security in order to qualify for disability benefits.

The following are the five questions that the SSA asks to decide whether someone is disabled. If you answer “No” to any of the questions, you will not be qualified to move on to the next question and will not be considered disabled.

1. Are you working? – If you are working in 2012 and your earnings average more than $1,010/month then you generally cannot be disabled.
2. Is your condition “severe”? – This means that your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities.
3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? – SSA has a list of conditions in their Blue Book that are so severe that they automatically qualify you.
If you have a medical condition that affects your ability to work on a regular basis but it is not as severe as an impairment described in the listing, SSA assesses your “residual functional capacity” (RFC). It will be determined through this step what you are still able to do despite your limitations or impairments.
4. Can you do the work you did previously? – This will be determined by the SSA
5. Can you do any other type of work? – The SSA will consider age, education, past work experience within the most recent 15 years and any transferable skills you may have. More sedentary work will be assigned if possible.

Most Social Security disability claims are processed through SSA field offices and State agencies, also known as Disability Determination Services (DDSs). Appeals are decided in a Disability Determination Process or by an administrative law judge in the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.

Many people do not qualify for disability benefits because they enter the process without knowledge of what is required or understanding the impact of the questions that they will be asked. To increase your chances of obtaining benefits, a long term disability attorney who specializes in the Social Security applications process can guide you through this often difficult experience. Determine your eligibility and the steps that you can take to qualify for benefits by contacting Burke, Harvey & Frankowski, LLC.

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