Most people think that Social Security is only for persons who are retiring. But Social Security has a disability benefits program that pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. While some programs give money to people with a partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not. It is for this reason that it is a good idea to have an attorney or representative on your side when applying for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDB).
In general, to get Social Security Disability Benefits, you must have worked for at least five of the last ten years on the books. In addition, usually you have to show that you became disabled within the past five years.
Social Security uses a five-step evaluation process, in a set order, to decide if you’re disabled.
If you’re working and your earnings average more than a certain amount each month, it generally won’t consider you to be disabled. The amount (referred to as “substantial gainful activity”) changes each year.
If you’re not working, or your monthly earnings average to the current amount or less, SSA looks at your medical condition at step two.
For you to be considered to have a disability by Social Security’s definition, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities — such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering — for at least 12 months. If your medical condition isn’t severe, SSA won’t consider you to be disabled. If your condition is severe, it proceeds to step three.
SSA’s listing of impairments (the listings) describes medical conditions that it considers severe enough to prevent a person from doing any gainful activity, regardless of age, education, or work experience. If your medical condition
meets, or medically equals (meaning it is at least equal in severity and duration to), the criteria of a listing, the SSA
will decide that you have a qualifying disability. If your medical condition doesn’t meet or medically equal the criteria of a listing, the SSA goes on to step four.
At this step, SSA decides if your medical condition(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it doesn’t, SSA decides you don’t have a qualifying disability. If it does, SSA proceeds to step five.
If you can’t do the work you did in the past, SSA looks to see if there’s other work you can do despite your medical condition(s). SSA considers your age, education, past work experience, and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you can’t do other work, it will decide that you’re disabled. If you can do other work, it decide that you don’t have a qualifying disability.
TWO-THIRDS OF ALL INITIAL APPLICATIONS FOR SSD ARE DENIED! UNLIKE MANY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY FIRMS, WE HELP YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY FROM THE VERY BEGINNING STAGES (THE APPLICATION) THROUGH ANY APPEAL THAT NEEDS TO BE FILED! WE FIGHT UNTIL THE VERY END TO PROVE YOUR CASE!
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