If you are considering applying for Social Security disability, there are some basic things that you should know. The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability:
- You cannot do the work you did before,
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical conditions, and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
Applying for disability
There are three ways that you can apply for disability. You can apply online. You can apply over the phone by calling your local Social Security office. Or, you can make an appointment to apply in person. Before you apply, you need to gather all of your doctors’ names and information. You also will need a list of all of your past employers.
Social Security follows a five-step process to determine if you are disabled. You must meet all five of the questions in the process to be approved for disability.
- Are you working? If you are currently working, it is unlikely that you are disabled.
- If you are not working, the second question is: Do you have a disability that meets a listing or a combination of disabilities that cause you to be unable to work? Social Security has created many lists of medical impairments, diseases, and diagnoses. These are called “listings.” Our office is familiar with the listings and can help determine if you meet a prescribed listing.
- If you meet a listing or you have a combination of disabilities that qualify, Social Security will then determine the third question: “How severe is your disability?” This is why it is very important to have open and honest conversations with your doctors and medical providers. Always be clear with them about the problems you are experiencing and how these problems interfere with your daily life. Many people answer “fine” when the doctor asks them how they are doing; when in reality they are far from being fine.
- If Social Security determines that your disability is severe, they will then move to question number four: “Can you do your past work?” This is why it is important to provide an accurate history of your employment. You need to remember how many pounds you lifted, how long you had to stand, and what physical demands the job required from you. We will assist you in making sure this employment history is complete.
- If Social Security determines you cannot do your past work, they will then analyze the fifth and final question: Can you do any work? This is a serious question, and it requires a detailed analysis. There are many jobs available in the United States, and Social Security considers all of them. Many jobs are low-skill and allow a person to sit and stand at their option. If you can do that job, you are not considered disabled. This is the step in the process where Social Security considers your age, education and work. It is important Social Security receives the right records and evidence so that they can properly evaluate your capacity to work.
To discuss your legal options, contact us or call our office at (843) 667.0400.