do you qualify for social security disability (ssd) or supplemental security income (ssi)?
You know that you can’t work anymore, but that is not enough to get the Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you desperately need. The Social Security Administration uses complex rules and regulations to decide if you meet their definition of “disabled” and are qualified to receive disability benefits. At Cole Disability Law, we know what it takes to prove your disability.
are you legally disabled?
Social Security defines “disabled” as an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
When you apply for SSD or SSI, Social Security uses a 5-step evaluation process to determine if you meet their definition of disabled.
step 1 - are you working?
Before even considering your medical condition(s), Social Security will determine if you are engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” If you are employed and your monthly earnings average more than a set amount, you will immediately be denied disability benefits.
step 2 - is your medical condition severe?
Your medical condition(s) must be of such a nature that it significantly limits your physical and/or mental capacities to perform basic work-related functions, and the condition(s) must last or be expected to last for at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.
step 3 - does your medical condition meet or equal a listing?
Social Security maintains a list of medical criteria that it considers to be so severe that you will be found to be disabled if your condition meets or equals a condition on its list. If your condition meets or equals a listing, you will be declared disabled and begin to receive disability benefits without Social Security ever considering your ability to perform your past work (Step 4) or your ability to adopt to other work (Step 5).
step 4 - can you perform your past work?
If you are not found disabled at Step 3, Social Security then determines if your condition prevents you from performing the work that you previously engaged in. If, despite your condition, Social Security determines that you can perform your past work, you will be found not disabled. If you cannot perform your past work, Social Security looks to Step 5.
step 5 - can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot perform the work that you have in the past, Social Security will determine if you are able to adjust to other types of work. Your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills will be reviewed in making this determination. If Social Security determines that you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.
we can help prove that you are disabled
Navigating the complex 5-step process used by the Social Security Administration is difficult, time-consuming, and complex. One misstep at any point in the process could cost you your disability benefits.
At Cole Disability Law, we understand that you need to focus on your health. We know the laws and regulations that Social Security uses, and we can tailor a winning strategy for you.