If you become unable to work due to an injury or illness, you may be entitled to benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
These benefits alleviate the financial burden you face because of your inability to maintain employment. If you need to file for disability benefits, how should you get started?
To first step in the disability process is the filing of the initial application. The application is a series of questions that asks about your injury or illness, treatments, and work background. This process can be overwhelming and sometimes confusing. Applicants often give up at this early stage because of the sheer amount of information required. A disability attorney can guide you through the initial application process and make sure you include all the details relevant to your claim. Once all of your information is gathered, the SSA will follow a five step evaluation to determine whether or not you are disabled.
Evaluation of Your Application
Step 1: Are you Working?
To qualify for benefits, you must show that, due to your condition, you have been unable to work for the last twelve months or that you do not expect to be able to work for the next twelve months.
While in some instances you may qualify for benefits even if you have some earned income, in most cases you cannot receive social security benefits if you are working.
Step 2: Are you Impaired?
The next step is to decide whether you have at least one mental or physical impairment that is “severe.” Severity means that your impairments significantly limit your physical or mental abilities and, as a result, interfere with your ability to perform basic work activities.
Step 3: Do your impairments meet a listing?
SSA has a listing of impairments for each of the major body systems. If you have an impairment that meets the specific criteria for a listing that automatically means you are disabled.
If, as in most cases, your impairments do not meet a listing, then SSA will continue to the next step.
Step 4: Are you able to do your past work?
SSA will then determine how your impairment affects the type of work you have done in the past 15 years. If it is decided that you are unable to perform your past relevant work, SSA will go to the last step.
Step 5: Are you able to do any other work?
SSA will look at how your impairment affects your ability to perform other jobs. In making this decision, the SSA will consider your age, education, work experience, and the skills you learned while working.
A disability attorney can give you your best chance of having your initial application approved.
A claim for social security disability benefits can be a complex and intimidating process, but we can help navigate you through it. Let our disability attorney frame your initial application in the best possible light to give you the best possible chance of getting the benefits you need.
If you are unable to work due to your severe long-term injuries or illnesses, call us today at 205-553-5353 for your free case evaluation.