Qualifying for Social Security Disability
Serving the Western United States
Although the Social Security Administration has a reputation for initially denying a majority of claims, there is actually an objective system in place to review an applicant’s qualifications. Some people do not realize that Social Security only pays benefits for total disabilities, not for those that are short-term or partially disabeled.
Your application will first be reviewed by your nearest Social Security field office to ensure you meet the financial requirements to receive benefits. Your application will then be forwarded to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) in your state. This agency is in charge of evaluating your medical condition and determining whether you should qualify for benefits.
The DDS follows a sequential evaluation process to determine if your disability is:
- If it falls under the Social Security’s “listing of impairments”
- If you are able to perform your job
- If there are other job options for you based on your skills, age, physical limitations and education level
If you have been denied disability benefits, talk to a Social Security Disability benefits attorney, who can help you file an appeal and collect the money to which you are entitled.
Qualifying for a Disability
Social Security defines a “disability” as a condition that limits your ability to work. Your impairment may qualify if you are unable to perform the type of work you did previous to your impairment, you cannot adjust to other work because of this condition, and this disability is expected to last for 12 months or longer – or result in death.
There is an official “Listing of Impairments” for each major body system that are deemed serious enough to prevent gainful activity (or children under 18, serious enough to limit functionality). Many of these impairments are anticipated to ultimately result in death.
Just recently, Social Security has initiated new tactics for processing disability claims:
- Compassionate allowances: these are specific disabling conditions that may qualify for benefits as soon as the diagnosis is official. Some of these include pancreatic cancer and acute leukemia.
- Quick disability determinations: a computer screening process may be used to identify applicants who have a high chance of qualifying.
When Your Condition is not Listed
If your disability is not on the list, you can still qualify. Your condition must have lasted for a continuous year and DDS must rule that it interferes with your ability to perform your job. Social Security will see if you are able to adjust to another type of work before approving your claim.
If you or someone you love has been denied disability benefits, please contact the experienced and successful Social Security Disability benefit attorneys at Law Offices of Fred J. Fleming today.