Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits can be a long and difficult process. As such, it makes sense for you to get a general understanding of whether or not you will be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration. Whether the Social Security Administration will consider you disabled can be a complicated question. However, here are some basic rules you need to understand so that you can decide whether to invest your time and effort in trying to get disability benefits:
Disabled For 12 Months
The disability you are claiming must be expected to last more than 12 months. If you are severely disabled, say from a stroke, but it will improve in less than a year, you will not be deemed disabled.
Medical Records Are Key To Proving A Disability
You need documented medical evidence showing that you are disabled. Just saying you are disabled and cannot work is not enough. Medical records supporting your disability are necessary. So if you have not seen a doctor in a long time, make an appointment immediately to start building your evidence. Objective tests- like scans, diagnostic tests, and blood work- that support the disability you claim are very helpful. And if your doctor agrees that you are disabled and cannot work, have the doctor fill out a medical source statement stating so.
If you have good documents showing your disability, your testimony and statements showing how this prevents you from working can be very helpful. So, keep a journal and write down how your illness or injury affects you and keeps you from working.
Currently Working? That Might be A Problem
Your disability must be so severe that it keeps you from performing “substantial gainful employment.” This is a technical legal term, but in short it means your illness or injury keeps you from working entirely or prevents you from working and earning an amount that the Administration considers too much. A good rule of thumb, however, is if you are working while applying for disability, the Administration likely will not find you disabled.
Can You Do Past Work?
Your disability keeps you from doing any of the work you did in the prior 15 years. In other words, if you were an electrician, your disability must prevent you from doing the work of an electrician.
Are There Other Jobs You Can Do?
Your disability must also prevent you from being able do other jobs. This can be very tricky, but there are some general rules to guide you. For example, the younger you are and the more educated you are, the less likely you will be considered disabled because there are other jobs you may be able to perform or learn to perform despite your disability. On the other hand, the older you are and the less education you have, the more likely there aren’t other jobs that you are able to perform because of your disability. So the general rule of thumb here is the younger you are- specifically under fifty years of age- the more difficult it is to be considered disabled because the Administration is likely to say there are other jobs you can do despite your disability unless you can show your disability keeps you from performing any type of work.
Knowing All This, Do You Think You Qualify For Disability Benefits?
These general rules should help you think through whether or not filing a claim with Social Security at this time is right for you. If after reading this, you believe you are likely to be considered disabled, give our Social Security attorneys a call to discuss your claim. With offices in Austin and Dallas, we handle Social Security disability cases throughout Texas and the United States. And remember- a qualified and experienced Social Security attorney greatly increases your chances of getting the benefits you need.