Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA has its own standards of what exactly counts as a disabling condition, rules that differ from other agencies. Understanding these criteria is an important part of knowing whether you qualify for SSDI.
If you’ve suffered a disability and are unable to work as a result, a Texas disability benefits attorney can help.
How Does the SSA Define “Disabled”?
Although you may be unable to work, and indeed disabled, you must meet the SSA’s definition of the term. This is true even if you are considered disabled under the rules of another government program. You should review the SSA’s definition of disability with a knowledgeable Texas SSDI attorney.
Under the SSA’s standard, an applicant is considered to be disabled if all of the following are true.
You Can’t Work Because of a Medical Condition
To qualify, an applicant must be unable to work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medical condition. The term SGA describes a particular level of work activity and earnings.
An individual’s work is considered to be “substantial” if it involves significant physical or mental activities or both. Meanwhile, the work is “gainful” if it’s performed for pay or profit, regardless of whether the employee realizes a profit.
Some conditions are viewed as being so severe that they prevent a person from engaging in any SGA. The SSA has a list of impairments (disabling conditions) for each body system that meet this standard. Your Texas Social Security Disability attorney can explain whether your condition is on this list.
But even if it’s not, it may still qualify as a disability. However, it must be severe enough to prevent a person from performing basic work-related functions.
You Can’t Do Your Previous Job or Other Work
You must be unable to do work done previously and cannot adjust to other work because of the condition. Disabilities tend to prevent an individual from performing his or her old job, even at a reduced productivity level. But this is only part of the equation. If an applicant can’t work their old job, the SSA must still determine whether another type of work is possible.
In other words, the SSA will want to know whether there is some other work you can do. It must be a type of work that the applicant is actually qualified to do, not just any occupation. Therefore, this analysis takes into account various personal characteristics of the applicant, such as:
- Medical condition(s)
- Previous work experience
- Transferable work skills.
The SSA may incorrectly believe that your past work qualifies you to do something that you actually can’t. Your disability, work experience, or other characteristics may prevent you from earning a living in such a position. If this is true for you, notify a Texas SSDI lawyer so steps can be taken to contest this decision.
The Condition Has Lasted 12 Months or Will Result in Death
Finally, your disability must either have lasted for at least one year or must be expected to result in death. This is where it will be critical to demonstrate how long you have been treated for your medical condition. Having accurate and complete medical records and other documentation, like supporting statements from family and friends, will help.
We’re Ready to Start on Your SSDI Case
Because it can take several months to receive a decision from the SSA, it’s important to apply for disability early. It’s also critical to make sure your application is complete and accurate. That’s where we come in. Connect with Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC today to get started.