Q: Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

A: Social Security Administration has a 5 step process for determining eligiblity:

First, Is the applicant working? You are not eligible for disability if you make more than a specified amount each month.

Second, Is the applicant's medical condition severe? To be ruled "disabled", you must have medical evidence attesting to your inability to perfom basic funtions of work for at least one year.

Third, Is the applicant's medical condition on the SSA's list of disabling conditions? Some medical conditons are deemed by Social Security as severe impairments causing disability. To see if your disability is on this list here is Social Securities listing of impairments.  https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

Fourth, If your condition is not on SSA's list of impairments, are you unable to do the work you used to do? If you are unable to do past work SSA moves on to the final step

Fifth, Is the applicant capable of performing any other work? SSA reviews your age, medical condition, education, past work experience, and skills to determine if they can perform gainful employment in a different way. If you are unable to do so SSA will rule you disabled.

Q: Why was I denied disability?

A:  There are some main reasons applicants get denied including, Your denial letter should state the reasononing behind the :

  • Lack of medical records providing proof of disability, SSA doesn't just take your word for it
  • Past convictions, if you were disabled while performing a felony you will be denied
  • Drug or alcohol use, if you are disabled as a result of drug or alcohol abuse you will be denied

Q: I was denied, what now?

A: You have 60 days to request an appeal from the day you receive your denial letter. If you are in the Central Florida area contact us, we'll be happy to help you.

Q: Do I have to stop working before I have to apply?

A: No, as long as you make under substantial gainful activity you can keep working. Substantial gainful activity as of 2017 is $1,950 per month for blind disabled and 1,170 for non-blind disabled gross income (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html). Be sure to take into acount taxes as your paycheck might already deduct them from income.

Q: Can I try to return to work while witing for a dissability hearing?

A: It depends. If you make more than substantial gainful activity you could be denied. However, I usually encourage claimant's to attempt jobs as it can more clearly show your disabilities in the work place. If you are unable to hold the job for two months Social Security deems it a failed attempt and will not deny you of your benefits.

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