June 3, 2009

How does the Social Security Administration Determine if you are Disabled?

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Indiana residents may wonder how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines if they are disabled.  In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the SSA must find you disabled.  There are many factors that go into answering this question.  Outlined below is the five-step process that the SSA uses to decide if you are disabled. Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis suggest that you keep the following in mind when you decide to file a claim. 

  1. Are you working?  If you are employed and your monthly earnings average more than a certain amount designated by the SSA, the SSA generally will not consider you disabled. The amount changes each year. For the current figure, visit the SSA website.  If you are not working, or your monthly earnings average the current amount or less, then they will look at your medical condition.  Many times, Social Security claimants are unclear of what earnings count.  If you have questions, contact Attorney Scott Lewis. 
  2. Is your medical condition “severe”?  For the SSA to decide that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, and remembering, for at least one year. If your medical condition is not that considered severe, you will not be considered disabled. If your condition is severe, the SSA goes on to the next step.
  3. Is your medical condition on the SSA’s List of Impairments?  The SSA has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered so severe that you automatically qualify as being disabled. If your condition (or combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, they will look to see if your condition is as severe as a condition that is on the list. If the severity of your medical condition meets or equals that of a listed impairment, it will be decided that you are disabled. If it does not, the SSA goes on to step four.
  4. Can you do the work that you did before?  At this step, the SSA decides if your medical condition prevents you from being able to do the work you did before. If it does not, you are not disabled. If it does, the state agency goes on to the final step.
  5. Can you do any other type of work?  If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the SSA will look to see if you would be able to do other work. They evaluate your medical condition, your age, education, past work experience and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you cannot do other work, the SSA will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work, the Social Security Administration will decide that you are not disabled.

Are you still unsure if you would qualify as being disabled?  Call Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.   

Filed under:Indiana Social Security Disability Client
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