What makes a person considered disabled?
The Social Security Administration defines disability in the following way:
“… the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
In other words, any condition or illness that limits your ability to work for more than a year is qualified to claim disability. This includes a wide range of impairments from cancer and schizophrenia to spinal injuries, brain trauma, and everything in between. Some conditions, like blindness, are easy to prove and can clearly inhibit a person’s work ability, but some cases are more difficult to accurately assess and require guidance from an experienced disability attorney in Orlando to make a veritable claim.
Who determines disability status?
The SSA uses a 5 step process to determine eligibility and benefits.
- Step 1. An applicant’s income and work activity are evaluated to determine if he or she is above the SGA limit.
- Step 2. The severity and expected duration of the applicant’s condition are assessed.
- Step 3. The applicant’s condition is compared to the severity of disabilities listed in the blue book.
- Step 4. The applicant’s work history is evaluated to determine that he or she is unable to reasonably continue work or begin new work.
- Step 5. The SSA must prove if adjustments can be made to the applicant’s work in order to continue employment.
What is Substantial Gainful Activity?
The SSA uses a standard of substantial gainful activity (SGA) to determine if an applicant’s income is sufficiently hindered enough to claim benefits. In general, if you are unable to earn more than $1,170 per month than you are below the SGA limit.
Can I qualify for automatic approval?
The SSA official Listing of Medical Impairments, also known as the blue book, specifically lists all physical and mental impairments considered to be legally disabling. If you are diagnosed with a condition included on this list, you automatically considered eligible to receive benefits.
Can I still qualify for benefits, even if my condition is not listed as a known disability?
Yes. Any condition that impairs your ability to work is reputable grounds for a claim. Disability lawyers in Orlando, FL can assist you with collecting the necessary evidence to prove your case.
Does my disability have to be permanent?
No, if you have suffered from your condition for at least 12 months, or if your condition is expected to last more than a year, then you have a right to claim benefits.
Can I still work and claim benefits?
Yes. You may work while collecting benefits as long as your monthly income is not above the set SGA limit. There are certain exceptions for specific cases, so be sure to go over this with your disability attorney in Orlando.
Once denied, can I reapply?
Yes. 90 percent of disability applicants are denied and must reapply.
Do I need to hire an Orlando disability attorney?
In most cases, yes. Multiple cases of fraud make the application process detailed and often difficult, with many possible causes for denial. A single overlooked document, missed appointment, or lost piece of evidence will force you to start the entire process over again. Guidance from qualified disability lawyers in Orlando, FL will oversee all the necessary details and save you time and hassle.