What standards does the SSA use to determine whether I am disabled?
For the millions of disabled individuals across the United States, Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide much needed financial assistance. Qualifying to receive disability benefits can be challenging and many applicants are denied the first time they apply. To receive SSD or SSI benefits, you will need to prove that you are disabled per the Social Security Administration’s definition. Our Fresno, California Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer discusses the SSA’s definition of disabled below.
The Listing of Impairments
The easiest way to meet the SSA’s definition of disabled is to satisfy a condition set out in the Listing of Impairments. This SSA manual includes dozens of medical conditions that range from cancer and heart failure to asthma and bipolar disorder. Your condition will need to be severe to meet the criteria set out in the Listing of Impairments.
Substantial Gainful Activity
Alternatively, you can prove you are disabled by demonstrating that your physical or mental limitations prevent you from being able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Substantial gainful activity is defined as making over $1,180 per month before taxes as of 2018. In evaluating whether you can perform SGA, the SSA will look at your work history in the past few years. The Administration will take into account your age, level of education, limitations, and work skills. It is not enough to show that you cannot continue working in your current job; rather, all potential jobs will be considered.
To support your claim for SSD or SSI benefits, you will need to include as much medical and other evidence with your file as possible. Your physician will need to attest to your condition and limitations. You should submit medical records, which will likely include your prior hospitalizations, medical testing, and more. Work records that reflect missed time on the job due to your disability are helpful, as is testimony from your supervisor or other superior. Your own personal statement as to your disability and statements from friends or relatives will all lend credence to your disability claim. Contact an SSD attorney today to get started compiling your strong SSD claim.