Evaluating Disabilities and the Benefits of an Attorney

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Social Security follows a five-step process in evaluating whether a Claimant, that is you, is disabled or not.

  1. It must be determined whether the Claimant is working or not. This is determined by asking if the Claimant is engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” “Substantial gainful activity” is a legal term not based on a set amount of hours or a set amount of income.  If Social Security, using the “substantial gainful activity” model, determines a Claimant is not gainfully employed he or she may proceed to the next step.
  2. For a Claimant to pass the next requirement Social Security determines if the Claimant’s impairment(s), many Claimants have more than one impairment, meet the duration requirement.  That length of time is whether the impairment(s) will last a year or result in death.
  3. A yes for step 3 will qualify for the Claimant for Disability. In order to clear step three the impairment must be listed under Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 of the Social Security regulations. This is an extensive list, and too long to list here.
  4. If the impairment(s) do not meet a listing Claimants can still qualify for disability, it just becomes more complicated. In step four Social Security will look at past work history and determine the level of “residual functional capacity.” Another way of asking this is, “Does the Claimant have any work skills remaining?”
  5. Under the fifth step, Social Security will look at things like educational history, age, and past work experience, to see if the Claimant processes any transferable skills that could potentially lead to substantial gainful employment.

As you can see, the process of determining disability is complex and filled with legal jargon.  This is where an attorney helps. Hiring an attorney will benefit you greatly in that they know legal jargon, and they know what Social Security is looking for when determining whether a Claimant is disabled or not. If you are interested in gaining more knowledge about Social Security Disability Benefits please reach out to Schiller & Hamilton, Law Firm, and let us help you through this complicated process.

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