There are many benefits offered by the Social Security Administration. The most frequently identified benefit is the retirement plan that most people pay into throughout their working lives. Another benefit, though, is the disability benefit available to workers who have become injured or sick, and their impairment keeps them from sustaining employment.
To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, a claimant must show, among other things, that their impairment has lasted, or is expected to last for more than 12 months.
For adult claimants, the Social Security Administration evaluates each claim with a five step sequential process. A claimant must first show that he or she is not engaging in substantial gainful activity. Next a claimant must demonstrate that the impairment claimed is severe and has or is expected to last more than 12 months. Next, a claimant may show that his or her impairment meets a listed in impairment according to SSA rules, but if the impairment does not, then the claimant must show that he or she lacks the residual functional capacity to work his or her past relevant work or alternative work. Navigating through this process can be difficult and an experienced Social Security attorney can be the difference between winning your claim and not.
Substantial gainful activity is a monetary measurement that Social Security uses to evaluate whether or not a claimant is able to work and support himself or herself. In 2016, substantial gainful employment is listed at a monthly amount for statutorily blind individuals for of $1820. For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2016 is $1130.
The Social Security Administration has a catalog of disability definition called Listed Impairments. This table can be found on the SSA.gov website and is commonly referred to as the Blue Book. Almost every kind of impairment is registered and defined, whether it is leg or knee injuries, neurological problems, or mental health issues. An experienced Social Security attorney can assist you in developing your case and helping you to win your claim for Social Security benefits.
Adults who file a claim for Social Security disability benefits typically list either physical or mental impairments, or a combination of both. Physical disabilities are those that involve lifting, carrying, standing, walking, sitting, pushing, and pulling, as well as nonexertional activities. Mental disabilities typically involve a worker’s ability to understand and carry out simple or complex instructions, make work-related judgments, respond and interact appropriately with supervisors, co-workers and customers, or the ability to effectively manage stress or changes in routine in the workplace.
One of the criteria by which the Social Security Administration evaluates claims for disability benefits is whether a claimant can perform duties in their past relevant work or in other related or alternative work. Whether or not a claimant has transferable skills or has benefited by workplace accommodations is an area where an experienced Social Security advocate can assist a claim in winning their case.