Winning your Social Security Disability Claim
A key to winning Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income is to understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines you are disabled. Does it matter what your age, the types of jobs you have worked in the last 15 years or your educational level? Not if you can prove you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity or work.
Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income is monthly financial assistance provided by the federal government to claimants who are unable to work and support themselves. The Social Security Administration does not want to approve any claimants for benefits who they do not consider eligible and truly mentally or physically disabled.
What is a disabling health condition according to the Social Security Administration? A disabling mental or physical health condition is an impairment that is severe, does not allow the claimant to work and is expected to keep the claimant from working for at least one year or more. If you are able to perform substantial work of any type (which you are qualified to perform given your age, educational level or work history) you will not be awarded benefits.
Another way to look at it is to determine the lowest level of work you would be qualified to do, evaluate your residual functional capacity to work and determine if you could perform that job. For instance, if you are able to sit down and focus for 8 hours per day the SSA may determine you could be a security monitor, Wal-Mart greeter, ticket taker or small parts assembler. If you could be retrained to perform these unskilled (or semi-skilled), low stress and sedentary jobs the Social Security Administration will not award you SSI or SSDI benefits. You will also be denied Social Security Disability benefits if you have a severe condition but you are going to recover within one year.
Before Filing a Social Security Disability Claim
- Make sure you have a valid Social Security Disability Claim. If you are still working, if your condition is short-term or if you have a partial disability, do not waste your time. Social Security Disability benefits are not awarded for partial disabilities unless the totality of several conditions does not allow you to work. As mentioned above, if your disabling health condition is not going to last for at least one year or if you are working too much the Social Security Administration will deny Social Security Disability benefits before evaluating the severity of your mental or physical health condition.
- Talk to a Social Security Disability lawyer. Many disability lawyers provide free Social Security Disability screenings to evaluate your Social Security Disability claim. Social Security Disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and generally do not take Social Security Disability cases they do not think they have a chance at winning.
- If you are working part-time be aware you may have difficulty receiving benefits. Part-time work can be held against a claimant, especially at the initial application or reconsideration level. Many disability examiners will see part-time work as evidence that the claimant may not have a severe physical or mental disabling health condition.
- Make sure you are seeing a doctor. Claimants apply for Social Security Disability benefits all the time without any supporting evidence for their impairment. The Social Security Administration may accept your application and process your Social Security Disability claim but you will have to see a Consultative Examiner who may or may not provide useful information for your SSDI or SSI case. If you want to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer you must be willing to get professional medical care or most Social Security Disability lawyers will not take your case.
If you can not work due to a severe mental or physical health condition, file a Social Security Disability claim. You can file a Social Security Disability claim online, over the phone or in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office.