Q How does the Social Security Administration decide if I’m disabled enough to receive SSDI benefits?
You’ve worked your entire life and had no plans on stopping for the foreseeable future. You assumed that you would leave your job on your own terms when it was time to retire—you never thought that an injury would sideline you and leave you unable to work.
You know that your injury is serious and the consequences are just as serious—you are now unable to work. You know that your condition could be considered a disability, but as you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you wonder if the Social Security Administration (SSA) will agree.
While the application process can feel completely mysterious, the SSA actually has a specific five-step process for determining if your disability is enough to warrant awarding benefits. The following series of questions are asked as a starting point:
- Are you currently working? If you are currently working and earning over $1,090 monthly, you will not be considered disabled.
- Is your condition considered severe? If your condition does not interfere with your ability to perform basic work duties, you will not be considered disabled.
- Is your condition included in the list of disabling conditions? The SSA’s “blue book” contains a list of disabling medical conditions, and if your condition is on the list, you will automatically be considered disabled. If your condition is not on the list, it will need to be determined if your condition is equally disabling as a listed condition.
- Can you perform your previous job duties? This step considers conditions that are not on the list and determines if your condition is severe enough to prevent you from doing your previous job. If it does not interfere sufficiently, you will not be considered disabled.
- Can you perform any other kind of work? Not only must you be unable to perform your previous job, but your condition must also prevent you from performing other jobs suited for your job skills and experience. If you can perform alternate work, your claim will likely be denied.
If you have questions about the SSDI application process or have faced a denial, my firm can help you pursue the benefits you earned with a lifetime of hard work. You'll want a Social Security disability attorney on your side. Contact me today via live chat or phone to learn more.