What factors are considered when seeking disability benefits?

For people in St. Louis who are suffering from an illness that is preventing them from working, Social Security disability may be an option that can help. The duration for which the person will receive the disability benefits will depend on several factors. However, the first key issue to disability is being approved for it. Understanding how the Social Security Administration will make the determination as to whether or not the benefits will be provided is an important factor for those who are pursuing SSD benefits.

There are five steps that the SSA will use to make a decision on a disability claim. For the person who is working in spite of the illness, step one determines if the earnings have fallen below a certain threshold for disability benefits to be granted. The amount is changed on an annual basis. If the person is not working or if the earnings per month fall at or below a certain amount, the SSA will examine the illness the person is suffering from. Step two will see if the issue is “severe.” By that, it means that the issue must be a significant hindrance to doing basic work such as sitting, walking, remembering and other work necessities. This must last for a minimum of 12 months.

Step three will look at the listings to see if the illness or its equivalent is met. It must prevent the person from performing what is known as substantial gainful activity. Age, education and work experience are irrelevant. Once these criteria are met, next the SSA will determine whether the person can do the same work the person did previously. If it does not prevent it, then it will not be considered a qualifying disability.

For step five, it will be determined whether or not the person can do any other kind of work. Simply because the person cannot do the work the person did previously does not mean no work at all can be performed. Age, education level, previous work experience and skills that might be applicable are taken into consideration.

Those who have an illness that they believe qualifies them for disability benefits based on the federal regulations need to know how to apply and what the rules are. If there is confusion, a denied claim or any other issue, having legal help is an imperative. Speaking to an attorney who is experienced in Social Security disability claims can help with a case.

Source: ssa.gov, “Disability Benefits — How we make the decision, pages 9-10,” accessed on Oct. 31, 2016

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