What Disability Determination Means to Your Social Security Claim

Posted on: 28 September 2018

If you cannot work at your job because of a medical problem, the Social Security Administration (SSA) might be able to help. This agency provides workers with a monthly income if they qualify for benefits. However, the qualification process is far from simple Read on to learn about the steps to approval.

The Initial Set of Qualifications

Applicants must meet the following minimum standards before the SSA sends the application to the disability determination examiner. Ensure you can pass the below qualifications before you apply:

1. You have earned enough money during the correct period to qualify for benefits.

2. You have not yet reached your full retirement age.

3. You are not participating in substantial gainful activity.

The Evaluation Process

If the above three standards are met, your case will land on an SSA examiner's desk. You might be able to predict your chances of success by answering the following questions about your claim. A negative answer to any of the below might mean a denial of benefits. If you're unsure of how to answer these questions, it may be best to consult a Social Security disability lawyer.

1. Has your medical condition affected you and made you unable to do your job for at least a year? Or will it affect you for at least a year in the future? You should use your last date of work to determine the starting point for answering this question. For example, if you stopped working in March of 2018 and your doctor says that you may be unable to return to your job until at least March 2019 or later, you may meet this requirement.

2. Has your medical condition been diagnosed by a medical doctor? To answer this question in the affirmative, you must:

  • Seek medical treatment
  • Follow your doctor's orders
  • Keep your medical appointments
  • Take all prescribed medications
  • Undergo all diagnostic tests as ordered
  • See your doctor on a regular basis
  • Be ready to show proof of all of the above using your medical records

3. Is your medical condition on the SSA list of covered impairments? The SSA maintains a list of all medical disorders that they cover. This list, known as the blue book, lists diseases and conditions of both medical and mental or emotional disorders. You aliment must be on the list to get benefits.

4. How well are you still able to perform the specific tasks of your job? The SSA will ask you about the exact duties of your most recent job in detail to determine what your job tasks involved. They may ask you to undergo a special medical examination where the doctor evaluates your ability to do tasks normally associated with your job.

In spite of being able to check off all of the above items, you may still be denied benefits. Speak to a Social Security lawyer for assistance with your appeal.