Qualifying for Disability basically comes down to your inability to work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step process to determine whether you qualify for Disability. If it finds that you are disabled ― or not disabled ― at any step, it makes its decision and does not move to the next step. Here are the five steps the SSA follows:
Are you working? The SSA will first consider your work activity, if you have any. If you are working and you make more money than the SSA’s pre-determined amount ($1,130 per month in 2016), you are not disabled under the SSA’s guidelines. If you are not working, Social Security goes to Step 2.
Is your medical condition severe? Your impairment must interfere with basic work activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, seeing, hearing, or understanding. If it does not, you are not disabled according to the SSA’s criteria. If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, Social Security moves to Step 3.
Is your ailment on the list of disabling conditions? The Social Security Administration maintains an extensive list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will decide if your condition is of equal severity to a medical condition on the list. If it is, you will be deemed disabled. If your impairment doesn’t meet their criteria, Social Security goes to Step 4.
Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is serious but not as severe as a condition on the list, the Social Security will determine if it interferes with the work you did previously. If it doesn’t, then your claim will be denied. If you can’t do your past work, Social Security proceeds to Step 5.
Can you do any other type of work? If you can’t do the work you did in the past, the SSA will see if you can adjust to any other work. They will take into consideration your medical condition, age, education, past work experience and other skills. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied. If you can’t adjust to other work, your claim will be approved.
Trying to determine whether you will qualify for Disability can be tricky. The Disability Team at McDonald Law Firm would be happy to assess your situation for free. Contact us today at 877-568-8413 or complete the web form on this page.