How Does Social Security Disability Decide That You Cannot Work?

by Apr 11, 2018Disability Benefits

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Social Security Disability decides that you cannot work by comparing your medical evidence to your work history dating back 15 years. If the evidence shows you have limitations preventing you from doing any job you worked during that period, Social Security will decide if you meet the qualifications for any other jobs. If not, then you have likely met the medical requirements for disability.

You can also receive approval by showing that you meet a Blue Book listing. The Blue Book is a list of conditions that qualify for disability—but only if you meet the listed criteria. A typical Blue Book listing requires you to produce a list of specific evidence, such as lab reports, diagnoses, and doctors’ statements.

Assuming you do not meet a Blue Book listing, you must provide evidence to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your condition prevents you from working. The most effective way to do this is with a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test.

The disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group, can help you collect evidence proving you cannot work. For a free consultation, call 865-566-0800 today.

Should I Try to Meet a Blue Book Listing?

It never hurts to refer to the Blue Book listing for your condition and see if the criteria are within your reach. Meeting a Blue Book listing makes the application process easier because it eliminates guesswork. As long as you meet all criteria and have the evidence to prove it, the fate of your application does not depend on the whim of a disability examiner.

If meeting a Blue Book listing looks doubtful, you can still win benefits. In fact, most people who get approved do it without the Blue Book. We can help you with this process. The more evidence you have proving your disability, and the more thorough your RFC, the higher your approval chances are.

What Is the RFC Test?

The RFC test is an objective examination of your condition and how it limits your functionality. Your doctor completes it based on tests and observations he or she has done on you. Your overall RFC rating tells the SSA whether you are capable of working.

If you have only ever worked hard labor jobs and your RFC shows you cannot maintain such physical activity, you have a high chance of approval. If you have worked desk jobs for the past 15 years and your RFC shows you can still complete this type of work, the SSA might argue that you do not have a disabling condition.

In addition to your physical rating, the RFC can rule out specific jobs or job duties. Imagine your RFC shows you are capable of working some jobs, but you suffer from bouts of severe vertigo. Your RFC might specify that you cannot do any job that requires heights, climbing ladders, or spending long periods on your feet. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your RFC might not rule you out of all desk jobs, but it might show you are incapable of typing for long periods of time.

If you are applying due to a mental disorder or cognitive condition, the RFC test can rate it as well. It might indicate that you are incapable of work requiring the use of memory, learning and processing new information, multitasking or juggling several projects at once, or working in a social setting or as part of a team.

A great thing about the RFC test is that it can be as general or specific as it needs to be to accurately convey your condition and how it affects your functional capacity.

Who Decides Whether I Can Work or Not?

Who decides whether you can work depends on the stage of your application. If you are a first-time applicant, a disability examiner at the state level reviews your application and evidence. If you are appealing a denial, a different disability examiner in the same office looks at your appeal. The next stage of the appeal process requires you to attend a hearing with an administrative law judge. If this is not successful, the Appeals Council will decide whether you qualify for disability benefits. If the Council does not rule in your favor, you can appeal to a Federal district court.

How Can I Schedule a Free Attorney Consultation?

The disability application process is complex, but working with an attorney whose focus is on disability law can make it easier. The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can help you build a winning claim. Call 865-566-0800 for a free consultation.