Determinations of Disability for Social Security are made by Disability Determination Services Office in your state according to their social security disability requirements. They apply a five-step process to determine disability. This process set out in federal rules and regulations. Actions by the Disability Determination Services office are subject to appeal. The steps in the process are:
Are you working?
If you are working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, you will generally not be considered disabled. This amount changes every year. If you are not working or your income does not meet the level of substantial gainful employment you progress to the next step.
Is your medical condition “severe”?
Your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities—such as walking, sitting, and remembering—for at least one year. Social Security will request information from your doctor to determine this. If you do not have a doctor, they will send you to a doctor to get this information. If it is determined that your condition is severe you go to step three to file for social security disability.
Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments
conditions on this list are considered so severe that they automatically mean that you are disabled as defined by law. If the severity of your medical condition or combination of conditions meets or equals that of a listed impairment to file disability, the state agency will decide that you are disabled. If it does not, the state agency goes on to step four.
Can you do the work you did before?
At this step, the state agency decides if your medical condition prevents you from being able to do the work you did before filing social security disability. If yes, you qualify, if not you go to the last step.
Can you do any other type of work?
The agency evaluates your medical condition, your age, education, past work experience and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, the state agency will decide that you are disabled.
Do you need a Disability Lawyer?
Determinations of Disability are based on medical information, your functional capacity, and vocational abilities. You have the right to representation before Social Security. Legal representation in this area is crucial to a successful claim. It is important to make sure that your social security disability lawyer has experience in handling cases before Social Security. Social Security will even set aside a portion of any past due benefits you may be entitled to pay representation fees to make getting representation easier.
Social Security Disability benefits are paid to persons because they cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Determinations of Disability are based on earnings requirements and medical conditions, your functional capacity, and vocational abilities... This is a complex area of the Social Security program. Competent legal representation is vital. Legal fees can be paid from past due benefits if your claim is successful.