Determining Whether You Qualify for Social Security Disability

You should be familiar with the five-question process we use to determine if you are disabled:

1) Are you working?

If you are working and your earnings average more than $800 per month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are not working please go on to question #2.

2) Is your disability “severe”?

If your condition interferes with basic work-related activities, your claim should be considered. Please go on to question #3. If your disability does not interfere with basic work-related activities, the Social Security Administration will deem you not disabled.

3) Is your disability found in the list of disabling conditions?

For each of the major body systems, the Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe that they automatically qualify you as a disabled person. If your condition is not on the list, the Social Security Administration will have to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If the Social Security Administration finds that you are disabled, go on to question #4. If the Social Security Administration finds that you are not disabled, it is likely that you will not qualify for social security.

4) Can you do the work you previously did?

If your condition is severe, but not as severe as a medical condition on the list, then the Social Security Administration must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If the Social Security Administration believes it will interfere with your ability to do work, then proceed on to question #5.

5) Can you do any other type of work?

If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the Social Security Administration will determine whether or not you are able to adjust to other work. The Social Security Administration will consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.

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