Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
How You Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
To decide whether you are disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a step-by-step process involving five questions. The criteria include the following:
Step One: Is the Applicant Working? The SSA will not consider a person for disability if they make more than a specified amount each month. If they make less than the designated amount, the SSA will take a more in-depth look at the applicant’s medical condition.
Step Two: Is the Applicant’s Medical Condition Severe? For the SSA to rule the applicant “disabled,” the medical condition must prevent the applicant from performing basic functions of work for at least a year. If this is the case, the SSA will look at step three.
Step Three: Is the Applicant’s Medical Condition on the SSA’s “list of disabling conditions?” If the applicant’s medical condition is not on the list of illnesses that automatically qualify for disability, the SSA will check to see if the condition is as severe as those on the list. If the condition does not fit the list, the SSA will look at step four. Some of the SSA’s disabling conditions include:
- Mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, autism, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD;
- Musculoskeletal system problems such as back and spine conditions, arthritis, amputations, fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, scoliosis, fibromyalgia;
- Skin disorders such as psoriasis, burns, ichthyosis;
- Respiratory illnesses such as asthma, emphysema, PPH, cystic fibrosis, lung transplant;
- Immune system disorders such as MS, HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis;
- Digestive tract problems such as Crohn’s Disease, liver disease, hepatitis, IBD;
- Impairments that affect multiple body systems such as lyme disease, metabolic disorders;
- Senses and speech issues such as vision, hearing, and speech loss;
- Endocrine disorders such as diabetes, thyroid problems, neuropathy, obesity;
- Cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease;
- Neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI) Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy;
- Genitourinary impairments such as chronic renal (kidney) disease, chronic hemodialysis;
- Hematological disorders such as sickle cell disease, hemophilia, myelofibrosis; and
- Malignant neoplastic diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, most kinds of cancer.
Step Four: Can the Applicant Perform the Work They Did Before? The agency will review the applicant’s claim and decide, based on the applicant’s injury, whether they are capable of performing the work they did before the injury. If they cannot, the SSA will move to step 5.
Step Five: Is the Applicant Capable of Performing Any Other Work? The SSA will review the applicant’s age, medical condition, education, past work experience, and skills to determine if they can perform gainful employment in a different capacity. If the applicant is not physically capable of performing other work, the SSA will rule the applicant “disabled.”
Work Eligibility Tests: In addition to the aforementioned requirements related to disability, applicants must meet two tests, the duration of work test and the recent work test, to qualify for benefits.
A Michigan disability lawyer at Baldwin Legal Services PLLC has the legal experience and resources to successfully protect your rights and help you obtain equitable SSI/SSD benefits. We understand that this is a challenging time, which is why we are committed to making sure proper medical evidence is provided for your application and that any appeals are filed within a timely manner. For a free consultation and to find out more about how we can help, call 877-886-1441. SSD/SSI cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. That means, no out-of-pocket expenses for you. The Social Security Administration pays our fee directly if we win your case.