How the Social Security Administration determines disability

Just because you and your doctor decide you can no longer work, that does not automatically mean you will receive Social Security Disability benefits. As with other government programs, you must apply for benefits and then wait for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to decide if you have an applicable disability.

The government tries to make it easy for disabled citizens to apply for the program alone, but many people in California opt to get assistance from a legal professional. This serves to speed the process in some cases by helping applicants meet the eligibility requirements as quickly as possible. If the SSA decides that you are eligible, the application process continues until it makes a final determination. It uses the following criteria to establish who can receive Social Security Disability benefits.

  • If you are working and your income exceeds a certain amount, the SSA will likely deny your application.
  • If you are not currently employed, the application process will continue.
  • Next, the SSA will decide if you have a severe disability, which means that you cannot work and have not been able to work for a 12-month period.
  • The SSA will determine if your disability is included in its list of covered impairments.
  • If your impairment is on the list, the SSA will look at whether you can still perform the type of work to which you are accustomed. If you can, your claim will likely be denied.
  • Next, the SSA will determine if you can perform other types of work. Again, if the Administration decides that you can, it will probably deny your claim.

As you can see, acquiring approval for Social Security Disability benefits is a challenging process, but it is crucial that you do not give up. If you continue experiencing difficulty with the program, consider seeking legal help. Doing so can give you and your family peace of mind during this difficult chapter of your life.

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