MN Social Security Disability Attorneys| How does SSA determine if I qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to determine whether or not you meet the criteria for “disability” and qualify for social security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration will look at the following:
- Are you working?
If you are working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, they will not consider you disabled. The amount changes each year. If you are not working or your monthly earnings average the current amount or less, then the State agency will look at your medical condition.
- Is your medical condition “severe”?
In order to be considered to have a disability per the Social Security definition, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting or remembering, for at least 12 months. If your medical condition is not severe, the Social Security Administration will not consider you to be disabled. If it is “severe”, then they will look to step 3.
- Is your medical condition on the list of impairments?
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of impairments which describes medical conditions which they consider to be severe enough to prevent a person from completing substantial gainful activity regardless of age, education or work experience. If you have a medical condition or combination of conditions, that are not on the list, the Social Security Administration will look to see if your condition is as severe as a condition on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals he severity of a listed impairment, the Social Security Administration will decide that you have a qualifying disability. If the severity of your condition doesn’t meet or equal the severity level of a listed impairment, the State agency goes on to step 4.
- Can you do the work you did before?
The Social Security Administration will look at your medical impairments and whether it not prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it does not, they will decide that you do not have a qualifying disability. If it does, they then proceed to step 5.
- Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot do the work that you did in the past, the Social Security Administration will see if there is other work that you can do despite your impairments. They will consider your age, education, past work experience, and any skills that you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, they will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work, they will decide that you do not have a qualifying disability.
It is important to have a Social Security attorney that understands the nuances of the law and that can put you in the best position possible to get disability benefits. If you are looking to apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits or have been denied benefits, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Thomas Mottaz at (763) 421-8226 or fill out the contact form.
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