Social Security Disability will try to determine if a person is totally disabled. This is true if you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Unlike VA disability, which veterans can receive even if they are only partially disabled, both SSDI and SSI exist only for those with total disability.
Being fully disabled in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA) means you are unable to sustain any substantially gainful employment. The SSA does not want people who are capable of working to collect benefits. In fact, if you make too much money while also drawing SSDI and SSI, it could lead to a revocation of your benefits.
You must prove total disability for your SSDI or SSI claim to get approved. A Social Security Disability attorney from the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you gather evidence and put together a strong claim. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, call 866-628-8179 today.
How Do I Prove That I Am Totally Disabled?
The majority of SSDI and SSI claims get denied on the first try, and even fewer appeals are successful. The biggest reason applicants get denied is the disability examiner who reviews their claim is not convinced that they are totally disabled.
To a disability examiner, having a total disability means meeting several conditions:
- You are unable to return to your previous job;
- You cannot return to any job you have done in the past;
- You are unable to perform any job that matches your education and skill set; and
- Your condition will prevent you from working for at least one year.
What If I Can Return to My Previous Job?
If the disability examiner feels you can return to the job that you were doing before you became disabled, they might deny your application.
Some applicants have received denials because the disability examiner contacted the applicant’s employer or manager, who then agreed to make modifications to the applicant’s work environment, enabling them to return to their job.
You must demonstrate that you cannot go back to your previous job in any fashion without it placing undue hardships on you or your employer.
How Will the SSA Determine If I Can Work Jobs I Have Done in the Past?
Even if you show that you cannot return to your most recent job, you still have not proven total disability—at least as far as the SSA is concerned.
The SSA requires you to provide your complete work history going back 15 years. The SSA does this in order to evaluate all your previous jobs, looking for one it believes you would be capable of doing even in your current condition.
Total disability means your condition prevents you from returning to any job on your list.
How Do My Education and Skill Set Apply?
The SSA goes beyond evaluating whether it believes you are capable of returning to your current or previous jobs. It also requests information on your educational history, as well as any special degrees, diplomas, certifications, or specializations you have earned in your career.
It uses this information to cross-reference your credentials with an internal database of potential jobs. If it finds a match, it could deny your application on the grounds that there is work you are capable of performing.
What If My Doctor Expects Me to Recover Eventually?
While your disability must be total to qualify for SSDI or SSI, it does not have to be permanent. You can receive benefits even if your doctor expects you to recover, as long as your condition renders you incapable of working for at least 12 months.
That said, just as your condition does not have to be permanent, your benefits are not necessarily permanent, either. From time to time, SSDI and SSI recipients go under review. During these continuing eligibility reviews, the SSA looks for any change in your condition or situation that might make you no longer eligible for benefits.
A disability attorney can help you apply for benefits and face the continuing disability review process.
Call 866-628-8179 Today to Schedule a Free Consultation and Claim Review With a Disability Attorney.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, focus on Social Security disability law. Our job is to help you with your claim and fight for the benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a team member, call us at 866-628-8179.