Social Security Disability Eligibility
Summary: The Social Security Administration (SSA) will decide your eligibility using a five step process asking the following questions:
- Are you currently working?
- Is your medical condition severe?
- Is Your Condition on the SSA’s List of Impairments?
- Can you return to your previous job?
- Can you do another type of work?
After you work with Freedom Disability Services to complete a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application, your application will be sent to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA makes the final decision on all Social Security applications. At Freedom our job is to make sure your application is as complete as possible with thorough documentation of every claim made.
To decide whether an applicant is considered disabled, the SSA uses a five-step procedure.
1. Are You Currently Working?
If you are currently working, your earnings will be evaluated. If your monthly earnings are more than the current monthly allowance determined by SSA, you will typically not be considered disabled. The monthly allowance changes every year. Ask your Freedom Disability Advocate for the current monthly allowance amount.
You also must have worked approximately five out of the last 10 years to qualify for disability benefits. This does not mean working five years in a row. Find out more about this requirement
If you are not currently working, or if your monthly income is less than the current allowance, the SSA moves on to evaluate your medical condition.
2. Is Your Medical Condition Severe?
In order for the SSA to decide your condition is ‘severe,’ it must disable you and significantly impair your ability to work for at least one year. This means your condition limits you from doing basic activities such as sitting for an extended period of time, remembering and completing tasks, or functioning acceptably in a social environment. If your condition is not ‘severe’ you will typically not be considered disabled. However, if your condition is ‘severe’ the SSA continues their evaluation with step three.
3. Is Your Condition on the SSA’s List of Impairments?
The SSA has a list of medical conditions, which will automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. If your condition is not on the SSA’s list, they will compare its severity to other conditions that are on the list. If they decide your condition is equally severe as a condition on the predetermined list, the SSA will consider you disabled. However, if your condition is not severe enough, the SSA continues the evaluation with step four.
4. Can You Return To Your Previous Job?
The SSA assesses your ability to do the work you did before your medical condition began. If are able to do the work, the SSA will not consider you disabled. However, if your condition prevents you from doing, so the SSA proceeds to step five.
5. Can You Do Another Type of Work?
If your condition prevents you from working at your previous job, the SSA evaluates your ability to engage in a different line of work. They will assess your medical condition, education, age, and previous work experience to decide if you are able to begin a new job. If you are able to do other work and receive income, they will decide you are not disabled. However, if you are unable to do any type of work, the SSA will typically decide that you are disabled and qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Call Freedom Disability Services today at 800-298-6885 if you have any questions regarding your medical condition and eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Our Disability Advocates will assist you with your claim and help you through the entire process of submitting your application to get you the benefits you deserve.
The foregoing information is based on published materials from the Social Security Administration (“Disability Evaluation Under Social Security”). It is meant to serve as an introduction to some of the factors used by the SSA in evaluating cases. It is no way comprehensive. While Social Service Coordinators can help you prepare an effective application for benefits, only the SSA can determine whether or not you qualify. For more information call Freedom today at (800) 298-6885.