Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

SSD benefits: assessing one's ability to work

The Social Security disability process can deceptively seem simple. At first glance, it appears one merely needs to show that he or she suffers from a medical condition that renders him or her unable to work. To a certain extent, this assessment is correct. But in reality, the matter is much more complicated.

For example, before the Social Security Administration will award SSD benefits, it will assess one's education and work history to determine what, if any, type of work an individual can still perform. It may seem like a claimant should still receive benefits even if they cannot obtain one of those jobs, but that simply isn't the case. Instead, the SSA will not deem an individual disabled merely because you were not hired for a job or because there is not a job opening for the type of work an individual can perform.

So then how does the SSA determine if there is a job that a claimant can perform? Generally speaking, the SSA will look at an applicant's previous job titles, job duties, the hours worked at each job, pay received and the physical nature of each job. A claimant will also have to detail how his or her medical condition started to affect his or her job performance, which may include working fewer hours, taking more sick days and leaving one's workstation frequently.

For SSD claimants, this means that they need to ensure that their claims are legally sound in every way possible. The devil is in the details, so those seeking SSD benefits need to make sure they gather every shred of evidence they can while building compelling legal arguments. By working with a legal professional, these individuals may be able to better anticipate a claim's shortfalls and thereby plan their claim accordingly.

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