Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is a difficult and time-consuming process. To understand why the application for SSD benefits asks so many questions, it is important to understand the process of determining whether a person is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
To decide whether a person is disabled for SSD purposes, the Social Security Administration uses a five-step process. Social Security needs to find out about past work to decide if the person can still do it. To make this decision, Social Security needs to know how you did your job and whether you learned skills on your job. A person is not disabled according to Social Security unless their illnesses, injuries or conditions prevent them from doing past work or adjusting to other work.
If Social Security finds that a person is able to do past work, but cannot get a job doing that work, SSD benefits will still be denied. In the disability process, Social Security evaluates the ability to do the physical and mental activities you were required to do in your past work and does not consider whether you could get a job doing this work. For example, Social Security does not consider whether you would be hired, whether a job opening exists, whether you would be required to move, or whether you want to do this work.
If a person has a medical condition(s) that affects the ability to work on a regular basis, but it is not as severe as any impairment described in the Listing of Impairments, Social Security will assess the person’s “residual functional capacity” (RFC). This means they will look at all of the evidence and determine what the person can still do, despite any limitations caused by your impairment(s) and related symptoms, such as pain and fatigue. This is where proper medical documentation is so important.
Information about your education and training are also very important in the Social Security Disability process. If you cannot do your past work, Social Security will look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do other kinds of work. Social Security will consider how many years of school you have completed and whether you have completed any type of special job training, trade or vocational school when we assess your ability to adjust to other work. However, absence of formal education does not necessarily mean you are uneducated or limited in your ability to adjust to work.
Age also plays a role in determining whether you are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security considers your chronological age in combination with your residual functional capacity, education, and work experience. In determining the extent to which age affects your ability to adjust to other work, Social Security considers advancing age to be an increasingly limiting factor in your ability to make an adjustment to other work.
If you are a younger person (under age 50), Social Security generally does not consider that your age will seriously affect your ability to adjust to other work. However, in some circumstances, persons aged 45-49 are more limited in their ability to adjust to other work than persons who have not attained age 45. If you are closely approaching advanced age (age 50-54), Social Security will consider that your age along with a severe impairment and limited work experience may seriously affect your ability to adjust to other work. Lastly, Social Security considers that at advanced age (age 55 or older) significantly affects a person’s ability to adjust to other work.
So, as you can see, many factors play a role in determining whether a person is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. It is important that someone applying for SSD benefits take all these factors into consideration and has an attorney who can help gather the pertinent documentation to get a favorable decision on a Social Security Disability claim.
To schedule a free case consultation with Attorney Matthew Noyes to see if he can assist you in your fight for Social Security Disability benefit, click here. The process for getting SSD is too complex to try to do it yourself. Attorney Matthew Noyes’ law firm-Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes-has been caring for clients since 1955. We see you through.