Social Security Disability is designated for those who have worked but are no longer able to because of an injury or a diagnosed medical condition. When applying for SSD benefits, applicants must clear an application process administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Do I qualify for Social Security disability?
To determine whether you are eligible for disability, the SSA will consider the following:
- Your current employment status: If you are able to engage in what the SSA calls substantial gainful employment (SGA), it will not deem you disabled. Engaging in SGA simply means making more than $1,170 a month.
- How long your condition has lasted: The SSA does not award benefits for partial or short-term disability. For the SSA to award you benefits, your condition must have lasted a year, or your doctor must expect it to last 12 months or result in death.
- If your condition meets a listing in the SSA’s Blue Book: The SSA maintains a list of conditions it deems potentially disabling. To qualify, you must satisfy the severity criteria for the specific condition. If you cannot meet the severity criteria (or if your condition is not listed in the Blue Book), you might be able to qualify if your condition is so severe that it keeps you from performing basic work-related tasks, such as sitting for prolonged periods, squatting, lifting 10 pounds or more, etc.
- Whether you are able to work: Simply being unemployed does not qualify you for disability benefits. The SSA will examine your medical records, educational and vocational background, age, and literacy to determine whether you could adjust to another type of work. If not, the SSA will deem you disabled.
Applicants who are denied benefits are given the option to appeal the decision; however, they have 60 days to file an appeal after the decision and must notify the SSA if they plan to use a lawyer or approved representative during the appeals process.
Because this is a complicated, multi-step process, contacting a knowledgeable Knoxville attorney is crucial to your case.