Social Security disability attorney Tracey Pate, of Disability Associates in Maryland, discusses the process of Disability Determination Services applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
A Social Security office then assigns a disability examiner to your application. The examiner begins to order medical records from the treatment sources indicated by the applicant noted on their application. Once the medical records arrive, the examiner can thoroughly inspect and decide whether or not a person qualifies for disability.
The following questions are typical of what a disability claims examiner may ask:
- Are you working? The first part of the test includes the examiner investigating whether or not you are working and if so, how often. For both SSDI and SSI programs, a disability claimant cannot work and earn more than an amount greater than or equal to what is known as a substantial gainful activity (SGA).
If you are making less than $1,090, the DDS has a better chance of giving you disability benefits. Keep in mind that this value is the cut-off point for those applying. If you make more than that amount, it will be harder for you to prove your condition. For applicants who are blind, $1,820 remains to be the SGA. These figures stand for the new year of 2015.
- Is your condition severe? The second step of the evaluation process assesses the severity of your conditions as well as factoring in its limitations. For example, if you have moderate hearing loss, yet you are able to hear up to 95% with the assistance of a hearing aid, the DDS is not likely to consider your condition severe and your claim will not move on to the next level.
- How does your condition measure with the disability listings? If your medical records indicate that you have a severe medical condition that matches the standards for an official Social Security disability listing, you may qualify for disability. The claims officer will then put you on “benefit receipt” status. The examiner will then forward your file back to the SSA for the continuation of processing.
- Do you have the ability to work full-time? This last test has to do with your medical, psychiatric or psychological condition limiting your ability to work. If you have a medical impairment or disability that makes it impossible for you to work your past full-time job, or a potential full-time job, you may qualify to receive benefits.
By understanding the process, it can allow for peace-of-mind as you await your application review. For more information on the Social Security disability application process, contact a Social Security disability attorney at Disability Associates in Maryland.