How Social Security Evaluates Your Disability Claim
The legal team at Brian Clymer, Attorney at Law, provides disabled clients throughout in Tucson and Southern Arizona with caring representation and direct communication. Every case is given personal attention by attorney Brian Clymer, who has more than 35 years of experience. Along with assistance from one of our dedicated legal assistants, we help you navigate through the Social Security Disability (SSD) system and work hard at all stages of your case to help you get the benefits you need.
Five-Step Evaluation Process
The Social Security Administration has a five-step evaluation process that is used to assess disability claims. These steps ask questions such as:
- Are you performing substantial gainful activity? Essentially, this question asks whether you are currently working. If you are and will make at least $1,040 per month this year (2013), you will not be considered disabled. If you are self-employed, however, the agency will look more at the activities you perform than your earnings.
- Do you have a medical problem that will last at least 12 months and have some effect on your ability to work? If you are disabled for less than a year, you will not be eligible for SSD benefits. If you have a condition that does not affect your work, or that cannot be documented, then you likely will not receive these benefits.
- If so, is your condition accepted/listed by the Social Security Administration? There are specific listings that define what physical conditions or mental conditions are conclusively presumed to be disabling for ssd purposes. You need to be able to describe and document your disability in a way that conforms to these listings in order to be eligible for payment.
- Can you do any past work that you have done in the last 15 years? How you describe your past work is vital, as failing to accurately portray why you are able or unable to do a specific job can derail your ability to obtain benefits.
- Can you do any other work that exists? If you are under 50, and you can do a job that does not require specific skills and is not physically demanding, you will not be considered disabled. If you are over 50, you may be able to obtain SSD benefits based on factors such as your age, your work history, transferable skills, background and many other things.
Other Things To Know About SSD
Receiving unemployment benefits can hurt your SSD claim. By obtaining unemployment benefits, you represent that you are available to do at least some type of work. Since SSD requires that you are unable to do any type of work, this could make you ineligible for SSD benefits.