Don't Wreck Your Social Security Disability Claim
Determination of DisabilityThe Social Security Administration has developed a five step test to determine if you are disabled according to their definition. When a claim is initially filed, it will go through this five step evaluation process:
The 5 questions to consider in determining whether or not you are disabled according to the strict definition as set out by the Social Security Administration are as follows:
1. Are you gainfully employed? Gainfully employed means you make more than $940.00 per month or more.
2. Is your condition severe? (The condition can be mental or physical or both, either way it interferes with your basic activities at work)
3. Is your condition found in their list of disabling conditions? (You can find these online through the SSA website at: www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm
4. Can you do the work you previously did?
5. Can you do any other type of work?
Applying the 5 Questions to Determine if You are DisabledThe above factors are a checklist to determine your potential eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are not working, then you proceed to step two to determine if your condition interferes with work related activities. If it does not then you are not considered disabled. So overall, you must pass the first two criteria before your claim will be considered.
If you are not gainfully employed and your condition does interfere with work then you proceed to step three. Under step three if your condition is found in their list of medical conditions then you are automatically deemed disabled. If your condition is not found on their list of medical conditions then you proceed to step four.
Here at step four, they must determine if your medical condition interferes with your ability to perform the work you previously did. If it does then you proceed to step five. If you cannot perform your previous job, is there any other job you can perform?
If You Are Unable to Perform Your Previous Job Is There Anything Else You Can Do?If you cannot perform your previous job, is there any other job you can perform? Here they consider your age, education, work experience, and any skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. However, if you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.
In summary there are two ways to be found disabled under this Social Security Administration checklist: (1) A finding that the claimant's impairment meets an impairment described in their listing of impairments; or (2) A combination of the medical and vocational issues qualifies the claimant for disability.