This also means that you should not stop at the first denial. Instead, if you get denied, timely consult an experienced social security disability lawyer who can advise you if they will take your case.
Most lawyers do not step in until there has been a denial and many make a good living out of winning claims at the administrative law judge level. This is the first time in the process that a SSI or SSDI claimant gets to tell their story in front of a Judge.
The Five Step Evaluation Process for SSDI and SSI
The Social Security act mandates a five step process that must be followed. If it can be found that a person is or is not disabled in the sequence the review continues until a result of disabled or not disabled is determined.
1. The first step is to determine whether the claimant is performing substantial gainful activity. (1)
The work must be gainful as well as substantial. Work is substantial if it involves significant mental or physical activity or both. It is gainful if it is work performed for pay or profit or both or is generally done
For the year 2013 for disability other than blindness gross earnings of $1040 per month is considered SGA.
So if you are only able to work a little bit and are making less than $1040 per month you can go on to the next step. However, your chances of getting you disability claim allowed are better if you are unable to work at all.
2. You have a medically determinable impairment that is "severe."
Your impairment is severe if it significantly limits your ability to walk, lift, stand, sit, bend, concentrate, attend work on a regular bassis week in and week out. ( If you will miss 3 days a month most vocational experts will say you can not maintan a job)
If you impairment is severe you go to the next step to see if you are disabled.
3. Do you meet or equal a listing of impaiments?
If you meet or equal a listing then you are disabled at this step. There are 14 listing of impairments from musculoskeletal to mental. If you do not meet or equal a listing you go to the next step.
4. Do you have the capacitiy and ability to do your past relevant work that you had performed within the last 15 years?
At this step it must be determined what your residual functional capacity is . This is your physical and mental ability to do work on a sustained basis despite limitation from your impairment(s). If you can do your past work you lose. If you can not do your past work you go to step 5.
5. Here it must be determined whether the person applying for social security disability benfits can do other work on a sustained basis considering the residual functional capacity, the age, education and work experience of the person.
If you can not do other work and you inability to do so has last for one full year or will expect to last for one full year you will be found disabled.
A simple way to understand this is by age and prior work exertion and skill level. For example , if you are 50 or over and your prior work was light, which mean you lifted up to 20 pounds and were on your feet most of the time and now you can only do an unskilled sit down job, the Social Security Administratio should find you disabled.
However if you or under 50 or your prior work was sedentary, you must prove you can not even do a job where you can sit most of the time and do not have to lift over 10 lbs or one where you could alternate between sitting and standing for 8 hours.
There are hundreds of other nuances to Social Security Disability SSDI or Supplemental Security Income SSI . This is just the basic framework for decision making in every claim.
You may reach Anthony Castelli for a Free Claim evaluation at 1-800-447-6549 or locally in Cincinnati at 513-621-2345