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The SSA's process of determining disability

Most residents of Saint Louis, Missouri, would probably agree that a sudden disability for a wage earning family member can be traumatic both emotionally and financially. Thankfully, there are provisions under the Social Security Disability benefits program that can help a disabled person during this difficult time.

There is a very strict process to define disability under the Social Security program and its definition is different than other government programs. Individuals cannot obtain benefits under this program if they suffer from partial or short-term disability. Disability, under the Social Security program, will be considered only if someone is completely unable to work after their disability, or is unable to do other work.

The Social Security Administration follows a step-by-step process in order to determine if an applicant is eligible for benefits under the Social Security Disability program. If the applicant is working and earns more than $1,070 a month, the applicant will not be considered for benefits.

If the applicant is not working, the department will send the case to Disability Determination Services in order to assess an applicant's medical condition. If DDS finds that an applicant's condition does interfere with work-related activities, the case will be considered and the next step will be to match the applicant's disability with a list of accepted severe medical conditions. If applicant's condition matches the list, the applicant will automatically qualify. If it does not match, the department will investigate further and decide if the applicant's medical condition is as severe as the conditions on their list.

If the department believes that the applicant's condition is severe enough then the applicant will be declared disabled and if not, then the department will determine if the applicant's condition interferes with the ability to work. If not, the applicant's claim will be denied. However, if the answer is yes, the department will determine whether the applicant can perform any other work. If not, claim will be approved.

Source: SSA.gov, "Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled," Accessed on Nov. 25, 2014

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
St. Louis, MO 63105

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