What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
What does Social Security Disability Need to Know about your Work History and Jobs?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
When a disability adjudicator (the decision maker on your social security disability or SSI claim - at the lower levels, this would be a disability examiner and at the hearing level this would be an administrative law judge) reviews a disability case, they need to determine several key aspects regarding the claim.
1. What is the claimant presently capable of doing?
2. What did the claimant's past work require them to do?
3. Does the claimant have skills, training, and education that would allow to do work other than what they previously did?
Regarding the first item, what the claimant is capable of doing is known as their residual functional capacity, or RFC. This is basically a rating that is assigned to a case. Examples of ratings are A) less than sedentary, B) Sedentary, C) Light, D) Medium, and E) Heavy.
These ratings essentially categorize the claimant in terms of what kind of activity they are currently able to engage in, based on the information contained in their medical records. For example, a person who has a medium RFC rating would be considered to have the ability to lift 50 pound occasionally and 25 pounds frequently during the course of a normal work day. A person who has a light RFC rating would be considered to have the ability to lift 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally during the course of a normal work day.
The ability to lift, of course, is not the only factor that determines what type of rating a person will be given by a disability examiner or judge. Practically every single human capability is taken into consideration when a rating is determined and given to a claimant. For instance, the ability to stoop, crouch, grasp, employ dexterous hand movements, see, hear, smell, reach overhead, tolerate heights (back problems and vertigo, for example, would interfere with this), feel, etc, etc.
In addition to physical capabilities, mental capabilities are also rated if the claimant is filing their claim on the basis of a mental impairment, or if it is learned during the evaluation of the claim that the claimant has at least one mental impairment that may be cognitive or psychiatric in nature.
An MRFC rating (mental residual functional capacity) would give consideration to the individual's ability to sustain attention and concentration while on the job, to persist in tasks, to learn new information, to recall and use previously learned information, to be able to adhere to a defined work schedule, to interact appropriately with other co-workers and supervisors (and perhaps clients or customers), and to be able to operate in a work setting without the need for special supervision.
Regarding the second item (what did the claimant' past work require of them?), this is the purpose of gathering full and detailed information from the claimant regarding their past work history. The disability examiner will need to properly identify each job from the claimant's relevant work history. This means potentially each job that was performed by the claimant in the fifteen year period prior to their filing for disability.
We say "potentially" because for the job to be relevant it must also be A) one in which the claimant had sufficient time to learn the skills of the job (so, in most cases, a job that was quit afer one week would not be considered relevant) and B) one in which the claimant was able to earn a livable wage while doing the job (known to the social security administration as SGA, or substantial gainful activity).
Continued at: Will Social Security Decide That I can go Back to My Old Job?
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Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials