Determining Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step disability claim evaluation process to determine whether you are disabled and eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The five factors they review include:

  1. Your current work status
    Your disability must prevent you from working.
  2. The severity of your medical condition
    Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities.
  3. Whether your disability is listed on the SSA’s list of impairments
    While not a guarantee that you’ll get benefits, conditions listed on the SSA’s list of impairments are considered severe enough to qualify for SSD benefits.
  4. Your ability to do the work you did before
    Your illness, disease, or medical condition must prevent you from doing the job you used to do before you were disabled.
  5. If you can adjust to other types of work
    The SSA will evaluate your condition and skillset to determine if you’re able to perform another type of work.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Social Security Disability lawyers can help answer your questions about qualifying for SSD. No matter where you live or how far along you are in the SSD claims process, we’re here to assist you. Contact us 24/7—just dial (800) 477-7315 or complete our free online form to get the experienced help you deserve.

How Age, Education, & Work Experience Affect Your Ability to Get SSD

When you apply for SSD benefits, Information about your age, education, and work experience help the SSA determine if you are capable of doing other work.

  • Age
    If you are age 55 or older, the SSA considers you limited in your ability to adjust to new types of work. However, if you’re age 50 and younger, age will probably not factor heavily into the SSA’s evaluation of your claim. Considerations are given on a case-by-case basis for every age category.
  • Education
    The number of years of school you’ve completed and any special job training you’ve received will be considered when you apply for SSD benefits. Even if you lack formal education, the SSA may still consider you capable of doing other work. Special considerations are given to applicants who are illiterate or unable to speak English.
  • Work Experience
    You must provide the SSA with detailed information about your past work experience and skills. Work history—along with age, education, and functional capacity—are all considered when the SSA determines if you are capable of doing other work.
  • Vocational Experts and Vocational Specialists
    The SSA may use vocational experts to provide evidence at hearings before administrative law judges (ALJs). Vocational specialists sometimes provide evidence to Disability Determination Services (DDS) adjudicators (the people who evaluate your claim).

Qualifying Conditions & Compassionate Allowances

To be eligible for SSD, your disability must last or be expected to last at least one year or result in death. If you or a loved one are suffering from a severe or deadly disability—such as a rare disease, cancer, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, or certain autoimmune conditions,—you may qualify for faster claims processing through the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program.

Get a Free Case Consultation Today

Proving you’re disabled can be a complex process. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we’re here to provide you with the best possible chance of getting the SSD benefits you’re owed. Your case consultation is always free, and you won’t owe us anything unless we get money for you. Don’t take on the SSA without help—contact us today.


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