We spend a lot of time on this blog discussing how you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits under specific illnesses and injuries. However, we want to take a step back to give you a better glimpse at the big picture of SSD claim adjudication. Hopefully, this information will allow you to better see what the Social Security Administration is looking for when assessing your claim which, in turn, can help guide you in the preparation of your initial claim or your appeal.
There are essentially five things the SSA will consider when analyzing your SSD claim. First, the SSA will consider whether you are working. If you are working and you make over a certain amount, then you may be disqualified from receiving benefits. Second, the SSA will assess your condition to determine whether it is severe enough to qualify. Generally speaking, your condition will be deemed severe if it significantly affects your ability to perform and it is expected to last for at least a year.
The third factor the SSA considers is whether the condition meets one of the injuries or illnesses identified by the SSA as a disability. We have discussed a number of these conditions on the blog. Fourth, your condition will be assessed to see if you are still able to perform the work you conducted prior to the condition's onset. If your condition disables you from performing that work, then you may be considered disabled.
Lastly, the SSA will look to see if, despite your injury or illness, you are able to perform other work. If you are, then you probably won't qualify for SSD benefits. If you are unable to perform other work, though, then you may qualify.
There are a whole host of legal issues that can arise when seeking SSD benefits. This is why, regardless of whether you are filing an initial claim or appealing a denied claim, you ensure that you are putting forth the strongest evidence at your disposal.