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How the Social Security Administration Determines If You Are Disabled

To decide whether you are disabled, the Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process involving five questions.

  1. Are you working?

    If you are working in 2002 and your earnings average more than $780 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are working in 2003 and your earnings average more than $800 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are not working, Social Security Administration go to Step 2.


  2. Is your disability "severe"?

    Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. If it does not, Social Security Administration will find that you are not disabled. If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, Social Security Administration go to Step 3.


  3. Is your disability found in the list of disabling conditions?

    For each of the major body systems, Social Security Administration maintain a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, Social Security Administration have to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, Social Security Admin will find that you are disabled. If it is not, Social Security Administration then go to Step 4.


  4. Can you do the work you did previously?

    If your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then Social Security Administration must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, Social Security Administration proceed to Step 5.


  5. Can you do any other type of work?

    If you cannot do the work you did in the past the Social Security Administration see if you are able to adjust to other work. The Social Security Admin consider your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.

If you or someone you know have been improperly denied Social Security Disability Benefits, contact us immediately by using our free online consultation form. A Social Security lawyer will review the facts of your claim. There is no charge or obligation for this service. Once we have received your information, a member of our staff will contact you concerning your claim.

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