Do I Qualify? The Five Questions
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a specialized definition of “disability” that is very strict. In essence, the SSA requires that you suffer from a medical and/or mental condition that causes you to be unable to work full time at your past jobs and that you cannot adjust to performing any other work.Further, the disability must be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
In order to determine whether you are “disabled” as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Administration will ask five key questions:1. Are You Working?
The Social Security Administration will not pay Social Security disability benefits to a person who works full time or who’s monthly earnings are, on average, more than $1,010.00.2. Is Your Condition “Severe”?
Your medical condition must seriously interfere with basic work-related activities in order to be considered “severe.” Only “severe” conditions are sufficient to qualify under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict definition of “disability.”3. Is Your Condition Found in the List of Disabling Conditions?
The SSA maintains a master list of medical conditions that affect the major systems of the body. These medical conditions are so severe that they are automatically considered to be disabling conditions by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will then determine whether your condition is of equivalent severity as those conditions found on the list in order for you to be considered disabled. The following list includes just a few of the conditions that may qualify as a disability. However, even if your condition is not on the list you may still qualify for benefits.
Our office has helped clients secure Social Security Disability benefits associated with the following illnesses, injuries and disorders:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal injuries
- Herniated disc(s)
- Crohn’s disease
- Panic disorder
- RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)
- Chronic heart disease
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Chronic headaches
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Severe back pain
This list of impairments is not intended to be exhaustive. Consequently, you may still be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits even if your condition is not listed here. We encourage you to contact our office for further information or to obtain assistance in helping you determine whether your condition or symptoms will qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.
Clients with a medical condition considered "critical" are processed more quickly by the Social Security Administration.4. Can You Do the Work You did Previously?
If your condition is severe, but not as severe as the other conditions found on the List of Disabling Conditions, then the Social Security Administration will determine whether your condition interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If your condition does not interfere with your ability to work, you will not be considered disabled for the purposes of qualifying for Social Security Disability.5. Can You Do Any Other Type of Work?
If the Social Security Administration determines that you can’t do the work you did previously, they will then inquire into your ability to adjust to other types of work. In this respect, the Social Security Administration will take into account your age, level of education, work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If the Social Security Administration determines that you would be unable to adjust to other work, your claim will be approved, provided you have satisfied the other Social Security Disability qualifications.