Disability As Defined By SSA

How does social security define disability? The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability as being unable to do “substantial” amounts of work due to a major medically determinable impairment that is likely to exist for at least a minimum of 1 year or possibly end up in death. “Substantial gainful activity,” as defined by the Social Security Administration, means earning at least $1,350 monthly (or $2,260 every month for blind people) in 2022.

The SSA examines your medical records for particular criteria for deciding if you can work a significant amount. If they find that you can’t, you will satisfy Social Security’s definition of disability. The criteria that the SSA likes to see depends on the kind of medical condition you have, such as cognitive, emotional, heart, musculoskeletal, and respiratory problems.

If you’re planning to file a Social Security disability claim because you find it difficult or impossible to work, or if you’ve previously submitted a claim and been denied, you might be wondering if you should hire a disability attorney to help you. Statistics-wise, the greater part of Social Security disability applications are refused at the first application and review stages.

A Louisiana social security disability lawyer like those from E. Orum Young Law can help win a claim at the level of an ALJ hearing. While hiring a disability attorney does not guarantee that a claimant will be given SSDI or SSI payments, having a legal professional on your side helps ensure that your case is properly “formed” prior to a hearing date.

What Benefits Do I Get From Hiring A Disability Attorney From E. Orum Young?

How does social security define disabilityThe majority of claimants are unaware of how to properly and completely prepare a disability case for a hearing. An experienced lawyer knows the rules and regulations of Social Security, how to supplement your medical records so they have the appropriate evidence to bolster your case, how important the vocational evidence you will need for the hearing is, and how to deliver your case to the judge at your hearing.

Hiring a disability attorney can help you get your disability case forward simply by keeping things moving. If your initial application is denied, for example, you have sixty days to request a reconsideration. You might wait until day 55 on your own, but if a law firm represents you, the paperwork will be completed considerably sooner. The same goes for requesting a hearing date.

Furthermore, if you have a very strong case and you are qualified for an on-the-record judgment, a disability attorney can assist you in bypassing the hearing and proceeding directly to approval. You might save months of waiting for a hearing date if you do this.

What does “medically determinable impairment” mean?

A medically determinable impairment is a physical or mental impairment that can be proven through reliable clinical and laboratory diagnostic methods and is caused by anatomical, psychological, or physiological abnormalities. A mental or physical disability must be proven with medical evidence like signs, symptoms, as well as lab results, not just by what the person says about their symptoms.

How Can You Prove To Social Security That You Are Disabled?

Let us first address the question of “How does social security define disability?” There are two ways you can show the SSA that you match Social Security’s definition of disability, which means that you cannot perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

  • Meeting a listing’s criteria.

The first method is somewhat of a shortcut toward meeting the criteria of how social security define disability. If your disability matches the extent of severity defined in the book of  Social Security medical listings (named the Impairments listings), you can bypass the remaining steps of the process. The  Impairments listings is a book that talks about many different health problems, like arthritis, anxiety, asthma, heart problems, and depression. If you meet the severity standards in the listing manual, you will be approved for a disability.

However, most of the people who apply for disability don’t meet the requirements of the listings. The medical condition of the applicant has to be severe to get a an approval of disability based on the listing book’s disability criteria. Most people receive benefits of Social Security in an old-fashioned way, by showing that their disabling condition limits them so much that they can’t do any kind of substantial work that would help them earn money.

  • Showing that your limitation prevents you from doing substantial work. 

To figure out if you can do SGA, Social Security will check first if you still can perform your most recent job, or jobs you’ve held during the last 15 years. Social Security will examine your physician’s treatment records as well as other medical source statements by your physicians to determine if you have physical or cognitive limitations. If Social Security agrees that your limitations prevent you from doing the work you used to do, they will look at perhaps you can do “other work.” When making this choice, Social Security takes into account:

  • what your limitations are
  • how old you are
  • your education level,
  • what kind of job skills you have acquired previously.

A 60-year-old male with just an 11th-grade background, for example, who can no longer do his previous work loading delivery trucks because it needs heavy lifting is not made to study to do other work that goes outside his job skills. People with severe mental or emotional issues, like depression or intellectual disorder, are not expected to do other jobs that require careful attention and focus.

What Are The Medical Details Needed For A Louisiana Citizen To Fit The Social Security’s Definition Of Disability?

Include a complete list of all of your medical disorders, limitations, and symptoms when applying for disability, and also a list of all clinics, hospitals, and physicians, that were involved in your treatments, including their addresses and telephone numbers.

In Social Security’s Listing of Impairments, you can find the exact criteria to get approved for different medical conditions. Factual test results such as blood tests, breathing tests, exercise tests, MRIs, or x-rays are often the criteria. When your doctor orders a test and sends in statements on your behalf, he or she must know about these criteria. And you should also know what the listing criteria are. But there’s no need to figure out what the medical terms in Social Security’s listings mean. 

Social Security is not just interested in your test results or  diagnoses, but also in how your ailments impact your capacity to work. You are not expected to get a job beyond your mental or physical capabilities. As such, it’s important to inform your doctor about how your medical condition limits the things you can do daily so that your doctor can write this down in your medical files.

Who Decides If A Louisiana Citizen Meets The Disability Criteria?

Even though you apply for disability benefits through Social Security, a different government agency decides on whether you are disabled. Your application for disability benefits is sent by Social Security to a state disability agency. This state agency is called Disability Determination Services (DDS). Claims are handed to specialists in disability at DDS. These specialists are called disability claims examiners. 

In addition to making initial decisions on Social Security claims, examiners are also responsible for making decisions on reconsideration, which is the 1st level of appeal, a paper review.

One or more of the following will be done by the disability examiner:

  • Write to your doctors, clinics, and hospitals to ask for copies of your medical records.
  • Contact you, your friends, or your family to find out what’s going on with your medical conditions  (ADL calls).
  • Talk to the doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists who work for DDS to find out if you meet the criteria for being disabled.
  • If your medical records are missing important information, DDS will pay for a medical exam for you.

What Are The Criteria For Louisiana Citizens To Enjoy Non-Medical Social Security Benefits?

SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, and SSI (or Supplemental Security Income) are the two programs that Social Security runs.

SSDI (or Social Security Disability Insurance)

SSDI Depending on their age, workers must have paid into Social Security for a certain number of years. For example, someone who is 50 must have worked for at least seven years, while someone who is 62 or older must have worked for at least ten years. When it comes to SSDI, a person who meets this criterion will be considered covered by Social Security.

If a worker stops working and paying Social Security taxes, they will lose their SSDI coverage after five years (or earlier for those who are 30 years old or younger). If a worker stops working, they must be able to prove that they were disabled before their disability status expired, or else they will not be able to qualify for benefits.

SSI (or Supplemental Security Income)

To be eligible for SSI disability benefits, a person’s income and assets must be below the strict limits set by the SSI program, and they must be a citizen or live in the United States.

What Can I Do If I Don’t Meet Social Security Criteria?

It’s not unusual for Social Security to turn down a first-time application. In fact, this is the norm: 64% of the first applications in 2021 were denied. Many claims are turned down because the applicant’s medical record doesn’t have enough proof of how bad their disability is.

If your application for disability benefits is denied, it doesn’t make sense to submit a new application immediately. This is a mistake that many people make. Instead, file an appeal and make sure this time that your file has all the medical information they need (a disability lawyer can help you with medical evidence that will make you earn an approval).

Hire An Experienced Louisiana Disability Lawyer

In the event that you are denied your appeal, you should consult with an experienced disability attorney who can help you navigate the appeals process. An applicant for disability who have a lawyer has a much better chance of winning at a hearing than those who don’t (almost three times, according to a recent government study). 

The lawyers at Orum Young Law have worked with clients at any stage of the SSDI or SSI appeals process for many years. We can help you with

  • the processing of your request for reconsideration
  • the appeals process.
  • getting ready for hearings
  • legal representation in court

If you have been turned down for disability payments, our social security appeals lawyer would be your best resource. Call us now for an appointment!