Jesse could no longer work and wanted to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). His chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had worsened to the point where he had to admit he could no longer work. But he still wondered, “How does Social Security know whether I’m disabled or not?” Frankly, he was not sure himself. His Social Security Disability attorney was able to tell him how Social Security would assess his claim and decide whether he was disabled or not.
Does Social Security Know Something Is a Disability?
It can be challenging to pin down an exact definition for such a broad subject. One person with arthritis might be eligible for disability while another person with arthritis is not. What makes the difference?
Social Security’s definition of disability is:
“To meet our definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) that is either:
- Expected to result in death.
- Has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.”
The term “because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s)” means they expect to see some proof that you actually have a disability.
Questions Social Security Will Ask
Does Social Security take time to process an application for benefits? Yes, absolutely. During this time, a Social Security staff member will gather information by asking some questions:
- Are you working? In 2020, you probably will not be considered disabled if you earn more than $1,260 a month.
- Is your condition “severe”? Your physical or mental impairment has to “significantly limit your ability to do basic work” for at least 12 months. Basic work includes “lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering.
- Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? Social Security maintains a comprehensive list of conditions that might prevent someone from working. However, Social Security might consider you disabled even if your condition is not on the list
- Can you do the work you did previously?
- Can you do any other type of work?
It is important to note that you might qualify for benefits due to a particular situation:
- Blindness or other visual impairment
- Surviving spouse of an SSDI or SSI beneficiary
- Adults disabled before age 22
Social Security also needs one more thing – proof.
Putting It All Together
When you apply, you will submit a lot of information. Social Security also requires you to submit records about your condition. In addition, you will give them permission to get medical records and more. For example, you have to provide medical proof of your disability. Without the right information, Social Security might reject your request. Your Social Security attorney can help you try to get your application right the first time or handle an appeal if necessary.
Talk to a Lawyer Who Does Social Security Disability Work.
The experienced Social Security disability attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller give your case the attention it deserves. For your free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. We are located in Anaheim, but we assist clients throughout Southern California.