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How Does the Social Security Administration Decide If You’re Disabled?

The Social Security Administration pays disability insurance (SSDI) benefits to eligible workers who are totally and permanently disabled. But what is the basis for SSA’s determination? In short, you must answer questions that lead an evaluator to conclude that you are physically and/or mentally unable to hold gainful employment.

Naturally, the entry-level question asks whether you are working. If you are earning more than $1,130 a month, SSA will most likely find that you are capable of maintaining gainful employment. If you are not working, SSA needs to know why.

You must have a physical or mental condition that is severe enough to interfere with work-related activities. If that is true, you must look for your condition on SSA’s list of disabling conditions. If your condition is on the list, you automatically qualify. If your condition is not mentioned, your application must make clear that your condition is as severe as an impairment that is listed. If your SSDI application leaves room for doubt in this regard, SSA looks at your ability to work.

If you can no longer do the work you were accustomed to doing, SSA will ask whether you can perform some other type of gainful employment. Here, evaluators consider your age, level of education, work history and transferable skills. If there is no other work you are suited to perform in your condition, SSA will consider you disabled.

If you’re concerned about proving disability on your SSDI application or if your claim has already been denied, a knowledgeable attorney at Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. can help with your appeal.  Call today at 423-797-6022 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact us online.

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  • Bristol Office
    777 Anderson Street
    Bristol, Tennessee 37620
    Phone: 423-797-6022
    Fax: 423-764-1179
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