The process that the SSA uses to determine disability

  Terry Katz & Associates  |  January 9, 2014  | Last modified on October 17th, 2018 | 

The Social Security system can be extremely complicated for people navigating it for the first time. Further, the Social Security Administration can be quite intimidating to individuals who are just trying to apply for benefits they may desperately need.

In an attempt to shed some light on how this agency works and how a person’s claim is handled, we will look at the steps the SSA goes through when considering an application for disability benefits.

The SSA website explains that there are five steps to determining eligibility for benefits.

First, the agency looks at whether a person is working. If not, the SSA will move to the next step. However, if a person is working, he or she is not automatically disqualified. If an applicant’s monthly income is less than $1,070, he or she may still qualify for benefits.

The second and third steps involve determining if a person does, in fact, suffer from a severe condition that is covered on the agency’s list of qualifying disabling conditions.

If the SSA finds that a condition is disabling, it will have to decide if that condition prevents a person from working in the same or equal capacity as the applicant did before an injury or illness.

Finally, the SSA will try and determine if other types of work or jobs are appropriate options for an applicant. If it believes that an applicant can work in other positions with some adjustment, it will deny an application.

At any step in this process, a person’s application can be denied if the agency does not have enough persuasive or supporting information to justify an approval. Because of this, it can be crucial for applicants to provide as much relevant information as possible.

Any person going through this process for the first time will likely be unsure of what information to submit with an application. Even knowing these steps will not be able to help a person completely understand what the SSA looks for in individual applications.

This is why many people work with an attorney when applying for SSDI benefits. With the guidance and knowledge of someone who has helped countless others navigate this very complicated and confusing system, it can be possible to avoid costly mistakes and oversights in the pursuit of a successful application.

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