Unable to Work
In order to qualify for Supplemental Security Insurance or Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration requires that applicants be disabled. There are often many questions about how Social Security defines disability.
The Social Security Act defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” This means that you must be disabled and unable to work for a year or more, or have a life-threatening conditioning.
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How Social Security Determines Disability
There are 5 areas of investigation that the Social Security Administration uses to determine disability:
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Your current ability to work.
If you are earning more than a certain amount each month, you will not qualify for disability. You may be able to work a little, but it is better to discuss any work you might be doing with a knowledgeable attorney rather than find out too late that you no longer qualify for benefits.
The List of Impairments
Social Security has a list of impairments that it uses as the basis for determining the threshold of disability. There are many conditions on the list, including conditions of the skin, GI tract, musculoskeletal system, and cardiovascular system. Social Security also includes neurological and mental health conditions on this list.
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The severity of your medical condition
It is important to note that there are many conditions that are not on the list that may qualify for disability. In all cases it is the severity of the condition and whether it significantly limits your ability to work that determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. Severity is often measured by your ability to do basic elements of work such as walking, sitting, standing and recalling information.
Your ability to do the work that you have done in the past
Social Security looks at whether your conditions affect your ability to do the work you have done in the past. This grows in importance as you get older.
Your ability to do any kind of work
If you cannot do the work you have done in the past, the government will make a decision as to whether or not you can be expected to perform other types of work. This determination is based on age, health, and other factors.
Finding Out if You Qualify
If you are unable to work for at least 12 months due to a physical or mental disability, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. A variety of conditions, injuries and illnesses are eligible. The attorneys at Berger and Green can help you determine if you qualify, as well as assist you in your claim. If you are suffering from a physical or mental disability, call Berger and Green for a free consultation about your claim today.
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