Factors the Social Security Administration Considers when Awarding Disability Benefits
If your disability prevents you from earning a living, you may be anxious to get started on your disability application. However, it is important that you understand how the Social Security Administration considers your application. The factors that it considers include:
Whether you are currently working
If you are currently working and your earnings exceed the substantial gainful activity limit, you will not be considered disabled no matter how impaired you are. In 2018, the substantial gainful activity limit is $1,970 for blind claimants or $1,180 for non-blind claimants.
Severity of your condition
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have an impairment that has lasted for more than a year or that is considered terminal in nature. Your impairment must interfere with your ability to perform basic work-related duties.
Whether your disability is on the listing of impairments
The next step of the process is to see if the claimant has an enumerated impairment that automatically qualifies the claimant for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has a Listing of Impairments based upon the major body systems. For each system, the administration maintains a listing of medical conditions that it considers so severe that claimants automatically meet the definition of disabled. Each listing has a specific set of criteria that must be met, in order for the claimant to meet the listing.
Even if the claimant’s condition is not on the list, he or she may be approved for benefits at this stage in the process if his or her condition is of equal severity to another impairment that is on the list. If you do not meet or equal a listing, the Social Security Administration moves to the next phase.
Whether you can perform your previous job
The next step is to determine if you can perform your previous work. If the Social Security Administration determines that you can perform this work, you will not be approved for disability benefits. This determination is usually made by determining the claimant’s residual functional capacity. This is the extent of the physical and mental duties that a claimant can perform given other factors, including his or her age, work history, job skills and physical and mental impairments.
Whether You Can Perform Any Other Work
If you cannot perform your previous work, the Social Security Administration then considers whether you can perform any other work that is available in significant numbers in the national economy. A vocational expert may testify about available jobs and whether you can perform them based on your impairment and other information.
Contact a skilled New Port Richey Social Security disability lawyer for help with your claim
Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a confusing process. Understanding how to qualify for benefits requires experience and knowledge about the eligibility process. New Port Richey Social Security disability attorney Joseph Rooth has extensive experience in representing Social Security disability claimants and establishing that they meet the eligibility criteria. We represent claimants in New Port Richey, throughout Tampa Bay and the central Gulf Coast area. Contact us online or call us at 727-849-3400 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.