Written for Willhoite Law, PLLC.
Social Security provides a safety net for those people who have either a physical or a mental impairment or a combination of both that keep them from being able to earn a living. Social Security talks about substantial gainful activity and earning money based upon that. So social security has a five parts step or tests that they go through to determine if someone is entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. An experienced Social Security attorney like Willhoite Law, PLLC can help you through these steps.
First they ask, is the person employed? Well, actually they ask if the person is doing substantial gainful activity, receiving earnings. That translates to are you working for yourself or someone else earning the amount of money that social security requires or not earning more than they allow before getting disability benefits. The second part of their test is does the person have a severe medical condition that’s lasted or expect it to last a year or more? So a person could have a severe medical condition that keeps them from working, but if it is a short term, let’s say they may be unable to work for three to six months, well that’s not going to qualify for social security because they have to be unable to earn a living for a year or more or their disability is going to result in death.
So you don’t have to be off work a year before you get social security disability benefits, but it must appear that the condition is likely to last a year or longer or resulted in death. The third thing they’re looking for is does your condition meet a listing and the listing? Well, basically social security has a list of about 200 different items that they know are so bad that if a person has one of these meets the requirements of the listings, they are unable to work. Nobody would expect them to be able to maintain a job earning substantial gainful activity had a substantial gainful activity level. Look to a Social Security attorney to explain the specific listing that might apply to you.
The fourth test is if you do not meet a listing, they go on. If you do meet the listing, that’s the end of the analysis there. If you do not need a listing, then does your condition prevent you from doing what social security refers to as your past relevant employment? Typically, so security is looking at what have you done over the last 15 years. It’s longer than that. They don’t see it as relevant because that job may have changed to where you can no longer do it or you may have lost the skills that you once had 15 years ago, but they’re looking at the last 15 years. Are these jobs that you’ve been doing in the last 15 years, are you still able to do those? If so, then you’re going to be denied social security disability benefits. If it’s qualified that are you able to maintain that type of employment, then you’re not going to be entitled to get social security disability benefits. The other possibility or if if you’re no longer, if he cannot do your past relevant work, then social security looks at, is there any other employment in the national economy that you’d be able to do at a substantial gainful activity level?
They don’t care if your town doesn’t have those jobs. They don’t care if there’s not a lot of those in your state or where you could get it. They don’t care if there are no one’s offering those jobs to people right now. They’re simply looking to see how many of those positions exist in the national economy and in your state, social security isn’t that care. If the job pays nowhere near what you’re used to earning in your career, as long as it pays minimum wage, which all the jobs would pay at least minimum wage, and if you’re able to do that on an ongoing basis, then social security’s going to deny you benefits.
The process for obtaining benefits if you believe that you might qualify is to contact the social security office and start your application with Social Security. You may want to first ask a Social Security attorney about your case before you apply. Social Security will go through a series of questions. They will get information from you. One of the most important things you can do is have a list of all your medical providers and their names addresses, phone numbers so that social security can request those medical records. If you have those medical records provide, that’s great. If you don’t, social security will request those on your behalf. The medical records are very important because even whenever you get further along in the process such as to the administrative law judge that judge could believe everything you tell them about why you cannot work. But if you don’t have any medical records to support you and then the judge is not allowed to give you disability benefits.
What kind of medical records are of interest to social security? Well, they want records that are going to show whether you meet the five part test requirements, and again, they’re looking for records that show you have a limitation or restriction that would prevent or inhibit or constrain your ability to earn a living at his job. Ask a Social Security attorney about your specific situation. One record that many people think sounds really good. It’s whenever the doctor says this person can’t work. Unfortunately that document doesn’t really tell social security anything that they need to know, which is why can’t you work? Just a blatant statement that person can’t work, is not allow social security to make an informed decision on their own on whether or not you can work. If instead the doctor states why they think you’re not able to work, then social security can look at that reasoning and make their own determination.
For instance, if the doctor says you have a restriction, let’s say they think based upon your condition, you are unable to work because you cannot sit for an extended period of time. You need a good Social Security attorney like the one you will find at Willhoite Law, PLLC. Call them at (918) 341-3101 to see if they can help you.