FAQs About Social Security Disability

Am I Entitled to Social Security Disability?

Social Security Title II Disability provides disabled workers with monthly benefits and Medicare coverage after receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months. In order to be found disabled, you must be unable to work due to your disability which has lasted or can be expected to last for twelve continuous months. Generally, in order to be found disabled, you must have worked 5 out of the 10 years prior to the date you became disabled. Social Security breaks a year down into four quarters. In 2013, you have worked a full quarter credit if you earned $1,160 of income. If you have earned $4,640, you have earned four credits for the year even if all of your earnings were earned in one month.

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How Does Social Security Determine if I Am Disabled and Eligible for Benefits?

Social Security uses a 5 step sequential evaluation process as follows:

Step #1 Social Security must determine whether you are engaged in substantial gainful activity from the alleged disability onset date. Substantial gainful activity is defined as work activity that is both substantial and gainful. If you are engaged in substantial gainful activity, you will not be found disabled regardless of your medical impairments.

Step #2 Social Security must determine whether your medical records establish that you have a severe medical condition or combination of medical impairments that are severe. If it is determined that your impairment or combination of impairments are not severe, you will not be found disabled. If the impairments are severe, you move on to Step #3.

Step #3 Social Security must determine whether your condition or combination of impairments meet or equal listed impairments under the Code of Federal Regulations, 20 CFR 404. If you meet or equal the listings of medical impairments, you are automatically found disabled at this step. If you do not meet the listings, the analysis proceeds to Step #4.

Step #4 Social Security must determine if you can perform any past relevant work. Social Security must first determine what your residual functional capacity is based on your age, education and previous work experience. If it is determined that you can perform past relevant work, you will not be found disabled. If it is determined that you can not perform any past relevant work, Step #5 criteria is evaluated.

Step #5 Social Security considers your age, education, work experience and residual functional capacity to determine if there are jobs in significant numbers in the national economy that you can perform. If you are able to do other work, you are not disabled. If you are found unable to perform other work that exists in significant numbers, you will be found disabled.

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