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What is a Disabling Condition for Social Security Disability?

If you have become injured or ill, and your medical condition prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration’s idea of what constitutes a disabling condition and your idea of what qualifies may differ.

By some estimates, 70 to 75 percent of all applications for SSDI benefits are initially rejected. A denial of benefits may occur as a result of an incomplete application, from an applicant’s ineligibility based upon the SSA’s qualifying guidelines, or from lack of documentation supporting a qualifying condition. Hiring a lawyer to assist with your disability claim can help you avoid making mistakes that result in the early rejection of your application. If benefits are denied, your attorney can represent you in the subsequent requests for reconsideration, disability hearing, and appeals.

The Social Security Administration describes a “five-step sequential evaluation process” used to evaluate disability:

(i) At the first step, we consider your work activity, if any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled. 

(ii) At the second step, we consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you do not have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment that meets the duration requirement in § 404.1509, or a combination of impairments that is severe and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are not disabled. 

(iii) At the third step, we also consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you have an impairment(s) that meets or equals one of our listings in appendix 1 of this subpart and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled. 

(iv) At the fourth step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your past relevant work. If you can still do your past relevant work, we will find that you are not disabled. 

(v) At the fifth and last step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your age, education, and work experience to see if you can make an adjustment to other work. If you can make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are not disabled. If you cannot make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are disabled. 

The SSA’s list of qualifying impairments is fairly extensive, but sometimes, a person may be denied benefits despite having a listed condition, and in other cases, a person may receive benefits even though his or her medical condition is not specifically listed, but rather, the cumulative effect of injuries prevents gainful employment.

Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be complex, and in general, such pursuit is best left to an experienced professional. If you believe you qualify for disability benefits, or if your SSDI application has been denied, call today 405-206-3335 to schedule a free consultation with a disability lawyer in Oklahoma City.

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