How Does the U.S. Social Security Administration Decide If I Am Disabled?

As a social security disability attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, I’m often asked how the government decides whether you are disabled.

To determine whether or not you are disabled, the Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process involving five main questions:

  1. Are you working? If you are working and your earnings average more than $1,040 per month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you aren’t working, move on to question number two.
  2. Is your condition “severe”? Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered by the SSA. If it does not, you will not be deemed disabled. If the condition is “severe,” move on to question three.
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? For each of the major body systems, there is a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA has to decide if it is equal to a medical condition on the list.
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is severe but not on the same level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then the SSA determines if your condition interferes with your ability to do the work in the same way you did previously. If it does not, the SSA will deny your claim. If it does, move on to number five.
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you can’t do the same work you did in the past, are you capable of adjusting to another type of work? This question takes into consideration your education level, age, past experience, and any skills you may have. If you can’t adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can do other forms of work, your claim will be denied.

As you can tell, Social Security Disability can be confusing. Contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney today for the guidance you need.

How Does the U.S. Social Security Administration Decide If I Am Disabled? was last modified: February 18th, 2016 by Desiree Fralick