How Does the SSA Make A Social Security Disability Determination?
If you’re applying for disability, you have a long and frustrating road ahead of you. In order to be eligible to receive disability benefits, you must prove that you cannot work because of a disability.
You are entitled to collect benefits from the point at which you became disabled regardless of when you apply. So if your disability doesn’t come through until a year after you applied, your benefits will be paid retroactively from that point.
It’s important to understand that the SSA denies far more disability claims than they accept. The courts will demand proof of disability. Moreover, they will require that proof to include the reasons why you cannot work. This is where a lawyer can be of great benefit to you.
At Disability Attorney Services, we specialize in helping individuals apply for disability. We take cases that we believe in and ensure our clients get the evidence they need to support their claim. Contact us today to speak to an attorney who is willing to fight for you.
What Are the Basic Eligibility Requirements?
For a lot of folks, the question they really want answered is:
How does the disability board make a Social Security Disability determination?
That is a complex issue. While the standards may seem objective, disability boards can be capricious in nature. As your attorneys, we will attempt to get as much evidence as we can to ensure your claim is as strong as possible.
Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
- The applicant must have a significant mental or physical impairment that prevents them from doing the basic work required to sustain a job;
- The condition must either have lasted for a full year. Or it can be safely assumed that the condition, even with treatment, will continue to last for at least a year;
- The condition must prevent the individual from earning “substantial gainful activity,” which is equal to $1,180 for disabled applicants or $1,970 for those who are blind.
What The Decision-Making Process Looks Like
There’s no way to predict what the Disability Determination Services’ (DDS) decision will be. But the process is the same for every individual who applies for disability. Firstly, the applicant will submit their application to the Social Security office. An application can also be done over the phone. After, there will be an interview. It is best to simply be honest at the interview.
Once the interview and paperwork have been completed, it will make its way to the claim examiner at the DDS. The claim examiner will determine whether there is enough evidence to support the assertion that the claimant meets the criteria set forth by the disability board. This includes taking a look at the claimant’s past jobs and the requirements for doing those jobs. The examiner will make a determination based on whether or not the claimant can return to their previous line of work and, after, if the claimant can perform other kinds of work.
The DDS claim examiner will consider those who are found both unable to do their past work or perform other kinds of work to have a disability.
What Questions Will Your Application Need To Answer?
Your application will need to answer the following questions:
- How severe is your disability or your impairments? A claimant cannot simply say that they are disabled and thus should be given disability instead of working. They need to prove their impairments are significant enough to preclude them from working or sustaining gainful employment over the amount of $1,180 a month. Even those with ostensibly severe impairments may be disqualified on the basis that medical intervention would help.
- Is your disability in the listing of impairments? The medical examiner or the DDS claims examiner will compare your disability to a list of impairments. Each listing defines a threshold that you must surpass in order to qualify for disability. In the event that your impairments are on the list and match the criteria for severity, you will qualify for disability. If they don’t, then DDS claims examiner will attempt to determine if there is a roughly equivalent listing on the list.
- Can you do your prior job? Obviously, if your impairments do not preclude you from doing your prior job, you will be denied disability benefits. If they do, then the DDS claims examiner will attempt to determine if you can do any job. If there are jobs that are local to you that the DDS thinks you are qualified for despite your impairment, your claim will also be denied. This is true unless you are 50 years of age or older.
How A North Carolina Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help
The two most important pieces of evidence when it comes to a Social Security Disability determination will be:
- your medical records and
- your previous work history.
For instance, those who have lost jobs due to their disability may present that as evidence that they are disabled to the court. It is therefore imperative that your disability attorney collects this kind of information to present to the DDS claims examiner. This will include both objective tests and the opinions of your doctors. In addition, a vocational expert could provide their opinion on your capacity to sustain gainful employment.
A good disability attorney will also go over your work history and ensure that all relevant information concerning your work history is included in the paperwork that is sent to the DDS.
Contact An Experienced North Carolina Disability Attorney Today
The process of applying for disability can be stressful, but we can help. Give our North Carolina Disability Attorney Services a call or contact us online for more information on what evidence you’ll need to prove your case.