Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Social Security Disability Income and the five-step evaluation

When a Staten Islander has been injured or become ill and is seeking Social Security Disability Income, it can be a confusing time. The physical and emotional impact of these issues can be stressful and complex. Many do not want to think about the steps they must take to get approved for SSDI. However, knowing the five-step evaluation process the Social Security Administration uses is a foundational aspect of the application process. Throughout a case, it is wise to have legal advice.

The SSA goes step by step when making its decision as to whether the applicant meets the requirements for benefits. If one step is not applicable, the case will be denied. First, the SSA wants to know if the person is working and, if so, how much they earn in a month. If their income is above a set limit, the SSA will generally decide that the person is not disabled and deny the application for SSDI. For those not working or whose earnings are below a certain level, the case will forward, where the severity of the medical issue will be assessed.

For step three, the condition must meet or equal a condition on the Listing of Impairments. Step four involves whether the medical issues prevent the person from doing the work they did before the accident. If they are unable to do the same work, they will generally be able to move forward in the case. If not, the case will be denied. Finally, with step five, the SSA will ask if the person is able to do other kinds of work. Age, skills, education and more are factored in. If they are found to be unable to do other kinds of work, then the case will likely result in an approval for SSDI.

Making ends meet and getting the necessary treatment to address injuries, illnesses or conditions is difficult. For those who are having these problems and cannot work, SSDI is an alternative. Meeting the requirements is key and having legal assistance with the application from start to finish is imperative. A law firm that understands all aspects of Social Security Disability Income can provide representation and help.

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