The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t make it easy for those who are disabled to get the benefits they deserve. SSA uses a 5 Step Sequential Evaluation test when it reviews every Social Security Disability applicant. So, if your doctor has told you to stop working, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Before you do so, ask yourself the following questions:
Step 1: Are you gainfully employed?
You must establish that you are gainfully employed or that you are earning less than the federal benefit rate (FDR). If in any month, after the period you claim you are disabled, you are gainfully employed earning $1,090 dollars, regardless of the severity of your disability, you’re not entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
Step 2: Is your medical impairment severe?
If you have a medical condition that results in limitations and restrictions, you have a severe impairment. For example, if you’ve had back surgery that’s limited your ability to lift more than 10 pounds, you have a severe disability.
Step 3: Does your impairment meet or equal a medical listing?
The Social Security Administration has a disability handbook called the “Blue Book of Impairments” which lists all recognized disabilities. If your disability doesn’t meet or equal the Listings, which you can find at the SSA website, the SSA evaluation process will proceed to Step 4 and Step 5.
Step 4: Can you perform your previous type of work?
If your disability doesn’t meet or equal the Listings, you can still be found disabled based on vocational factors found at Step 4 and Step 5. At Step 4, you must show that you can’t do any previous work that you did for the last 15 years that lasted more than 30 days.
If you’ve had back surgery and your doctor says that you can’t lift more than 10 pounds, and your previous work for the last 15 years was a Stocker, you’ll satisfy Step 4 because your job requires heavy lifting.
Step 5: Can you return to any of the work in the national economy?
SSA will determine, based on your restrictions and limitations, whether there is other work that you’re capable of performing. They will consider your pain, side effects and any psychological problem you have. It’s important that you have a Social Security attorney represent you because most cases are decided at the hearing at Step 5.
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will present the Vocational Evaluator a hypothetical based on a mythical individual just like you. The ALJ will ask the vocational evaluator questions about whether there is other work this mythical person might be capable of performing in the national economy taking into consideration your age, education and skills you have learned at other jobs.
Having an attorney represent you to make sure that the hypothetical given to the vocational evaluator is accurate and correct!
What You Should Do Next!
Don’t make a crucial mistake and attempt to represent yourself in a Social Security Disability hearing.
While your doctor told you that you’re unable to work, it takes more than just your doctor’s word to get you the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve.
Contact Social Security Disability attorney Nancy Cavey today at 727-898-3188. She can help you get the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve.