If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, you might qualify for Social Security benefits. To obtain Social Security benefits, you will need to file a claim for benefits. The Social Security claim process is very complicated, and many people receive denials when they first apply, especially if they try to get these benefits without the help of a Social Security disability lawyer.
If you are confused by the process or have already received a denial, do not lose hope. Call a Social Security disability (SSD) lawyer in Washington County from Berger and Green for help through this long, complicated process: 412-661-1400.
Will my medical condition qualify?
To answer that one question, you must actually answer five other questions. The five questions the Social Security Administration (SSA) will ask:
1) Are you working now?
If you are currently working and making more than $1,170 per month, the SSA will likely not consider you disabled. If you are not working currently, the SSA’s Disability Determination Services will evaluate your condition under questions 2 through 5.
2) Is my condition severe?
A severe condition the SSA will recognize is one that interferes with your ability to work. If, despite being very sick, you are still able to work, the SSA will not find you to be disabled.
If, on the other hand, your condition is such that it does interfere with basic functions necessary for being employed, then the DDS evaluation will proceed to the third question.
How can my doctors help prove my disability?
Your doctors will not be the ones making the decision as to whether you are disabled; however, the DDS will ask your doctors for your medical records to evaluate:
- What medical condition you have
- When it started
- How it limits your function
- The medical tests have you had, and their results
- Your treatments and their results
The DDS will also seek information from your doctors about your ability to perform certain basic functions that are necessary to be employed. These can include whether you can sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, and follow basic instructions. This is all part of the evaluation process the DDS follows in order to determine if you are disabled.
3) Is your condition on the SSA Listing of Impairments?
The SSA Listing of Impairments is a list of medical conditions, covering every major system of the body. The “Blue Book” contains highly technical medical terminology, and can be difficult to follow.
If your condition is severe enough to be on the Listing of Impairments — and you can meet the listing’s severity criteria, you will likely qualify as being disabled.
We can help you understand the Listing of Impairments and determine if your condition is a qualifying condition under the Listing of Impairments.
My condition is not on the Listing of Impairments. Do I have any chance of getting benefits?
Even if your condition is not on the Listing of Impairments, do not give up hope. It would be nearly impossible for the Listing of Impairments to list and describe in detail every single medical condition that is severe enough to prevent a person from working.
If you have a severe condition, but it is not on the Listing of Impairments, you may be able to qualify under a medical vocational allowance.
To determine whether you qualify under a medical vocational allowance, your doctor may be asked to fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form and determine whether your condition limits your ability to perform basic tasks such as sitting, standing, lifting, bending, etc.
4) Are you able to do the same kind of work you did before your condition?
The SSA will evaluate whether you are still able to do the same kind of work you did before your condition. If you are, the SSA will not deem you disabled.
If it is not possible for you to continue to do the work you used to do, the SSA will see if you can do a similar type of work, using your existing training and skills. This similar work would avoid the areas of impairment that are caused by your impairment. If this is not a viable option, the SSA will then turn to the fifth question.
5) Is there any other type of work you are able to do?
If you are still able to perform some functions, although limited to a certain extent by your medical condition, the SSA will determine your RFC to assess what kind of work you are now able to do. If there is no type of work you can do, the SSA will consider you disabled.
Is there other criteria I must meet?
Yes. The criteria you must meet will depend on what type of benefit you apply for.
If you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must have a certain number of work credits to qualify. The number you need depends on your age.
If you apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you need to have a low income and low assets.
Where can I get help with my claim?
It is a long, complicated process to evaluate whether a person qualifies as being disabled. The SSA initially denies benefits for many people with significant medical conditions often due to a lack of evidence or a technical error.
You need a knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyer to evaluate and handle your claim, and to fight for your rights. The disability attorneys at Berger and Green are here to help you with your social Security disability claim in Washington County. Call 412-661-1400 for a free consultation today.