The process of filing for Social Security Disability benefits can be perplexing and daunting. It might be difficult to know what will happen at each level of the procedure, especially if you make an application without the help of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. Understanding how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines disability will alleviate some of your anxiety and help you better prepare for the procedure.
Keep reading to learn the basics and then contact PLBSH at (800) 435-7542 if you need help filing for benefits, appealing a denial of benefits, or other SSDI related legal issues.
The claimant must meet five factors
In order for the SSA to deem an applicant (claimant) handicapped and eligible for benefits, he or she must show five factors under federal law:
- The claimant is not engaged in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA)
- The claimant has a “serious” impairment
- The impairment meets or “equals” one of the impairments listed in the “Listing of Impairments” in the social security rules
- The claimant is unable to undertake “previous relevant work” (PRW) based on his or her “residual functional capacity” (RFC), which is what the claimant can still accomplish despite his or her disabilities.
- Other job within the claimant’s RFC does not exist in substantial numbers in the national economy, taking into account the claimant’s age, education, and work experience.
These five factors are part of a five-step assessment procedure.
These steps do not benefit everyone
For many individuals, this concept is perplexing since it might lead to unexpected outcomes. For example, a person may have a severe disability (step 2) that fulfills one of the impairments listed in the Listing of Impairments (step 3), but the SSA will not consider him incapacitated because he engages in significant gainful activity. This is why, if you have any doubts about your ability to qualify, you should speak with a Social Security Disability attorney to help you with your application.
The definition of each step can be complicated
Each of the five “steps” in the procedure has its own set of federally mandated definitions. For example, “profitable” activity is often judged by looking at earnings — although this is not always the case, since some candidates may be self-employed and operating at a loss. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer can assist you in preparing an application for benefits based on your present and previous employment history, as well as your capacity to participate in substantial gainful activity.
The five-step sequential review procedure is an essential but difficult aspect of receiving disability benefits approval. PLBSH can assist you if you have any queries concerning this element of Social Security. To book a consultation with a competent Social Security Disability attorney, call (800) 435-7542 today.