Social Security disability (SSD) benefits offer a much needed source of income for people whose medical condition/medical impairment prevents them from working on a full-time basis. You may be wondering: How does Social Security determine if I am disabled? Below, you will find an explanation of how the term ‘disability’ is defined under federal law and how the SSA evaluates a claim.
To start, it is important to understand how the term ‘disability’ is defined for the purposes of federal law. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a person disabled if they have a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s)” that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).To qualify as a disability, the medical impairment must be expected to end in death or last for at least one year.
Does My Condition Qualify for Social Security Disability?
The SSA’s definition of disability is relatively vague. To determine if an applicant qualifies for SSDI or SSI benefits, there must be a careful review of their individual medical records. Ultimately, comprehensive, well-organized medical evidence provides the basis for any successful Social Security disability claim.
The SSA Trust State Agencies to Make Disability Determinations
When you file a Social Security disability claim, the SSA will conduct an evaluation to assess your financial and legal eligibility. For your medical eligibility—whether or not you have disability under the law—the agency relies heavily on state agencies. Commonly referred to as DDS (Disability Determination Services), these federally-funded state agencies make disability findings on behalf of the SSA. In rendering a disability decision, DDS will look closely at the applicant’s statement and their medical records.
Unfortunately, many qualified applicants struggle to get their SSDI or SSI benefits because their initial disability claim is not well-supported. Well-prepared medical evidence is key. If you need help with your Social Security Disability application, reach out to an experienced Social Security disability attorney. You do not have to go through this process alone. A lawyer can guide you through the process and help you prepare a strong and compelling initial application for SSD benefits.