Social Security Lawyer: Who Decides If I Am Disabled?

If you’re applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be wondering who decides if you are disabled and eligible for the program. The answer will vary depending on your condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will decide whether you’re able to work, or if you meet the disabled eligibility criteria. The agency looks at your age, skills, education, and medical limitations to determine whether you cannot perform your previous job. If you’re considered “able to work,” your claim will be denied.  A social security lawyer can help you navigate the application process.

Five-Step Eligibility Determination Process

The SSA uses a five-step process to determine if you’re disabled. This process is called the Sequential Evaluation Process and is also referred to as the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. The disability definition is not absolute; instead, it’s relative. However, if your condition was diagnosed within the past year, it is considered severe enough to prevent you from performing the essential work activities.

  1. Medical Condition

    The first step is to examine your medical condition. For a doctor to consider your application for SSDI, your illness must be so severe that it interferes with your ability to perform your previous job. This step is the most important – if it’s not severe enough, the SSA won’t consider it.

  2. Physical and Mental Capabilities
    Some requirements must be met to be eligible for SSDI. These requirements for the program will evaluate your physical and mental capabilities. The impairment must be expected to last a minimum of twelve months or result in death. This impairment must impair the ability of the person to work.

  3. Medical Condition Severity
    SSA has a “Blue Book” medical listing to which your condition is cross-referenced. If your condition is not listed in this book, your application will be denied. Although the book doesn’t guarantee your eligibility, it moves the applicant forward to the Residual Function Assessment (RFA), an assessment to evaluate the applicant’s ability to work full-time.

  4. Previous Relevant Work Experience
    Can the applicant prove the skills exercised in previous employment to be completed? Can they still complete those skills and activities? These are some of the questions the Social Security Disability case worker will be evaluating when they review your case.  If you’re working, you can’t be considered disabled unless you cannot perform basic tasks. The monthly amount for 2022 will be $1,350. This means that you need to prove that you’re not working or that you’re not capable of working in a different capacity.

  5. Burden of Proof
    Lastly, SSA will determine if there is other work that the applicant can do based on their skillset. For example, if someone worked in education and became disabled, could they become a writer despite their disability in this remote environment? As part of this final step, the Social Security Administration considers an individual’s RFC, education, work experience, and age. The applicant bears the burden of proving they cannot perform other work.

Where Do You Start? A Social Security Lawyer Can Help!

Have you been disabled and are wondering what to do next?

You’ve been working hard for years, but now your body doesn’t feel the same. It’s time to take care of yourself and get help from a professional. A Social Security Disability Lawyer can help you navigate through the application process. 

If this sounds like something that might apply to you, please contact us today to help find out if SSDI will be able to help. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that your application is processed quickly and efficiently. It only takes a few minutes of your time but could change everything for the future! 

Get a free case evaluation today with the form below.

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