Call Us For Help With Your Social Security Disability Claim
The process for applying for Social Security Disability not only seems complicated but is actually more complicated than it looks. In order to try to make decisions on eligibility consistent, the Social Security Administration (SSA) categorizes claimants in many ways, using age, education, work experience, health, residual functional capacity and other factors. Many diseases are described in Social Security “listings.” Frequently, the requirements for these listings are the kind of things that your doctor may never have a reason to include in your records. But if the notation isn’t in the record, the SSA has to assume that the requirement is not met.
Was Your Claim Denied? Find Out Why.
If you’ve received a denial on your Social Security claim, you may need help proving that you are no longer able to work. If you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability, you may be entitled to benefits. The SSA follows a complicated set of regulations to determine whether you qualify. The first question is whether you are capable of “substantial gainful activity.” What this means is “are you working?” If you are able to work and earn over a certain minimal amount, you will not be eligible.
The second question is whether you have any “severe” impairment. The SSA has regulations that define “severe” for their purposes. Frequently the information SSA would require to find out if your condition is severe can be found in your medical records. In other cases, however, your doctor may not have noted facts that the SSA will consider essential in placing your impairment in the “severe” category. One of the main services that a Social Security Disability lawyer can perform is to review your medical records for questions that your doctor should answer. In these cases, sometimes a simple form is all that’s needed to supply the missing information.
The third question that the SSA will consider is whether your condition is described in a set of regulations called the “listings.” Again, a review of your medical records is essential. Even if your condition is not found in the list of impairments that the SSA considers automatically disabling, you may still be disabled under the regulations. The next question is whether you’re capable of doing your past relevant work. Developing evidence about your work and your “residual functional capacity” is essential. “Residual functional capacity” means the ability that you have left in spite of your “severe” impairment.
After that, the SSA determines whether there are other jobs you can perform that exist in substantial numbers in the national economy. Again, the regulations are essential. Medical evidence can also be important. Doctors seldom record all of the patient’s limitations. They tend to focus on what they can do to improve the patient’s health or help the patient live with his or her condition. Something as simple as a form in which the physician is asked to summarize the limitations that he or she would reasonably expect the patient to have can be very important in establishing disability.
Why Do You Need A Lawyer?
The process for obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is very slow. This is especially true in an unstable economy. Many people are losing the last job that they are capable of performing. Social Security Disability is not intended to be unemployment insurance. However, the reality is that there are many people who are effectively unable to do any work except for very rare jobs that they were able to find when they were healthier and the economy was better. Those people are now losing their jobs due to deterioration in their health and/or the economy.
If you are considering an application for Social Security Disability benefits, consult an attorney with experience. Gerry Schulze has been practicing Social Security Disability law for 25 years, and Ruthanne Murphy has over 30 years of legal experience. Call 501-588-3399 or fill out a short form to get a free consultation.