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What The SSA Looks for in a Disability Claim

If you're applying for Social Security Disability benefits you probably already know that the process can be a long and complicated one. What you may be wondering, however, is exactly what it is that the Social Security office looks for when processing your claim. What information do they use to determine whether or not to approve you for Social Security Disability benefits? Here is some information to help you understand exactly what it is that determines whether you're eligible for Social Security Disability or not.

When the Social Security Administration determines whether or not you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits they look at a number of different factors. One of the first things they will look at is your work history for the previous 15 years. To qualify for disability benefits you will need to have earned enough work credits to qualify or, if you do not have enough credits, they will need to see if you meet other criteria that will enable you to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

If you do not have a work history and you did not become disabled prior to the age of 22, you will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. You may, however, qualify for Supplemental Security Income if your household income does not exceed the limits set forth by the Social Security guidelines. Supplemental Security Income is determined by your medical condition and your financial need rather than how much you have paid into the Social Security system. People who qualify for this program usually also qualify for state assistance, such as food stamp and state medical care.

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security office will look at your medical history, your current medical condition and your age in addition to your work history. If you have a condition that falls under the Compassionate Allowance program, then your application will be expedited and you may receive an approval for Social Security Disability benefits in as little as 20 days. If your condition does not fall under the Compassionate Allowance program, then you may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but it will take longer for the approval process. Some applicants wait years to have their disability claim approved, but it may only take a matter of months depending on your specific claim.

Proving Your Disability Claim

If you are over age 55 and you are applying for disability benefits, you will need to be able to prove that you cannot perform the work that you have been performing for the past fifteen years. If, for example, you were a construction worker for the past 15 years you would need to prove that you could no longer perform the duties related to that job in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are under the age of 50 and you want to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to prove that you are unable to perform any job at all. Usually this means that you are unable to sit for six hours at a time, cannot walk occasionally for up to two hours a day and cannot lift ten pounds.

Proof of disability will be assessed by your medical condition and any medical records that can document your inability to work. These records need to prove that your condition has had a direct impact on your ability to generate an income. You may have been visiting the doctor every month for severe back pain, but if there is no evidence that your back pain interferes with your job, then you may not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Because of this it is important for you to discuss with your doctor how your disability is interfering with your day-to-day life. By documenting this information, you will make your claim for Social Security Disability benefits stronger and will be more likely to be approved.

What To Do if Your Disability Claim is Denied

Contrary to what many people believe, the Social Security Administration takes an unbiased approach to approving or denying a claim. They will not deny your claim just to save the government money. If you meet the criteria, your Social Security Disability claim will be approved. If your application is not approved it is likely due to insufficient evidence of your disability. If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits and you feel that your information was not adequately reviewed, you can contact the Social Security Administration to file a disability appeal.