Will my claim for SSD or SSI Disability Benefits be denied?

1. Unable to "substantially and gainfully" work at any job they have done in the relevant past. This means potentially all jobs performed within the last 15 years.

2. Unable to "substantially and gainfully" work at any other type of job for which they might be eligible as a result of their mental and physical capabilities, age, education, and transferrable or non-transferrable work skills.

At this point, however, a clarification should be made.
Qualifying for disability under this definition of disability does not strictly mean that a person cannot have the ability to work during this 12 month period. There are individuals who engage in work activity while they are filing for disability. And there are individuals who receive disability benefits while they are engaged in work activity.

You can work while pursing or receiving disability benefits. You simply cannot earn more than a certain maximum amount while you are working. This maximum amount is known as the SGA limit. SGA is the level at which a person is no considerable disabled. Translation: if you can work and earn at least the SGA limit amount that is in effect for a given year, then you cannot be considered disabled by SSA. The flip side to this is that you can receive disability benefits if your earnings are under this limit.

Receiving SSD or SSI disability benefits, in actuality, is not about proving that an individual no longer has the ability to work, but, rather, proving that they can no longer work and earn a livable income, a.k.a. a substantial and gainful income.

Another way to approach this question (Will my claim for SSD or SSI Disability Benefits be denied?), though, is to state that a claim will be denied if a person's medical records do not show that they have the physical or mental limitations necessary to prove that they are unable to engage in work activity at a substantial and gainful activity level. The information gained from medical records will determine the outcome of a disability claim.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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