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Social Security

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefit earned when you and your employers paid into the social security system. If you or a loved one is critically ill or injured, you may qualify to receive social security disability compensation subsidized by the federal government. The social security and supplemental security income disability programs are the largest of several federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration, and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program. The SSDI system is complex and can involve multiple hearings and appeals.

To decide whether you are disabled, the SSA (Social Security Administration) uses a step-by-step process involving five questions about your medical condition and ability to work. The questions are as follows:

1. Are you working?
If you are working in 2011 and your earnings average more than $1,000 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.
If you are not working, the SSA will look to Step 2.

2. Is your condition “severe”?
Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. If it does not, the SSA will find that you are not disabled.

3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
For each of the major body systems, the SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, they will find that you are disabled. If it is not, they will go to step 4.

The SSA has two initiatives designed to expedite their processing of new disability claims:

Compassionate Allowances: Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and pancreatic cancer.
Quick Disability Determinations: The SSA uses sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.

4. Can you do the work you did previously?
If your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then the SSA must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, they will proceed to Step 5.

5. Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the SSA will see if you are able to adjust to other work. They consider your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.

In any case, you have the right to retain an attorney concerning any aspect of social security. Englett and Associates can help to assist and advise you at any time during the process to obtain social security disability insurance. Having representation is a necessity at the hearing level and beyond. Social security is a specific area of the law, and therefore it is important to find an attorney who is experienced at handling social security. Call our office today at (888) 238-2686 to set up a free consultation..

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