Disability - FIVE Steps to Your Social Security Disability Determination

Posted 11 months ago. Applies to Arkansas, 0 helpful votes



STEP ONE: Are you performing substantial gainful activity (working)?

What does "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) mean? This means that you have worked and earned money during the time prior to your disability. Substantial: Work that requires significant physical or mental activities. Gainful: work that you do for pay or profit. $1040 or more per month (in 2013) is considered gainful. For blind persons, $1740 or more per month (in 2013) is considered gainful. Self-employed persons have different SGA requirements to satisfy. If your answer is "no," go to STEP TWO.


STEP TWO: Is your disabling condition severe?

What does "severe" mean? Severe means that your condition interferes with your ability to function independently, appropriately, effectively, and on a sustained basis. Your condition is considered "non-severe" if it does not significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities. If your answer is "yes," go to STEP THREE.


STEP THREE: Does your condition meet the requirements of SSA's "Listing of Impairments?"

Here are some of the categories of common disabling conditions recognized by SSA: Musculoskeletal System, Respiratory System, Special Sense and Speech - Adult, Digestive System - Adult, Endocrine System - Adult, Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems, Neurological, Mental Disorders, and Immune System Disorders. The medical criteria required to demonstrate these disabling conditions are located in the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Ask your disability attorney to provide you with a copy of the medical criteria that is required for your specific disabling condition. Durational Requirement: In addition to meeting the guidelines discussed above, your condition must be expected to last at least 12 consecutive months, or expected to end in death. If your answer at this point is "yes," you probably qualify for Social Security Disability. If your answer is "no," then go to STEP 4.


STEP FOUR: Are you able to perform work that you have done in the past?

Do you have the mental or physical ability to perform the tasks required in previous jobs, despite your disabling condition? To determine this, you will: - Identify the mental and physical requirements for all of the jobs that you have held in the past 15 years; and - Ask your doctor to complete a form explaining your medical diagnosis and limitations; then - Compare your current limitations to the tasks required in your former jobs. If your answer is "no," then go to STEP FIVE.


STEP FIVE: Can you perform any other work, considering your age, education, and work experience?

This step takes into account your age, education, skills and experience, and the level of exertion that you are capable of. If your answer to STEP FIVE is "no," then you probably qualify for Social Security Disability.


Do you need help applying for Social Security Disability?

If you need help with the application or appeal of your Social Security Disability Claim in Arkansas, please contact Deborah L. Hardin at The Hardin Law Firm, PLC, or a licensed attorney in your state. Email: TheHardinLawFirm@gmail.com; or Phone: (501) 247-1830.


DISCLAIMER - Please Note:

The information contained here is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The Hardin Law Firm, PLC cannot guarantee the content or usefulness of any suggested websites. The use of this website and/or any information contained herein shall not create any attorney-client relationship between you and The Hardin Law Firm, PLC. Prior to acting based on any material contained here, you should seek and retain professional counsel in your state or other jurisdiction, as applicable. You may not rely upon, nor should you act on, any information contained here without seeking and engaging a competent attorney licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction.

Additional Resources

The Hardin Law Firm, PLC

Code of Federal Regulations Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Part 404—Listing of Impairments

Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1572. What we mean by substantial gainful activity.

Code of Federal Regulations § 404.1520a. Evaluation of mental impairments.

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