Qualifying for disability in Kentucky
You will qualify for disability in Kentucky or any other state (the system is federal and, thus, the same in all states) if you can prove that you meet the definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration.
How do you do this? First of all, you can meet this definition by showing that you are not working and earning more than the limit for substantial gainful work activity. Secondly, you must be found to have a severe medical impairment that has either lasted a year by the time you apply for disability, or can be projected to eventually last that amount of time. And the severity must be enough that it has, or will, prevent you from engaging in substantial and gainful work activity (defined by the SGA earnings limit previously linked in this paragraph) at work you have done in the past, or any other type of work.
So, let's recap. Many people are surprised that you can work and file for disability. But you can, as long as your earnings are under the limit. Is it more advantageous to not work while your disability for SSD or SSI is being assessed? The safe answer is yes. However, many individuals do not have a choice in this matter and the fact remains that SSA does allow for work activity.
How does Social Security assess your ability to work? The disability examiner working on your case, or the judge at a disability hearing will do the following: they will review your medical records to determine in which ways you are mentally or physically limited. Then they will compare your functional limitations to the demands of your past work. If you cannot do your past work, they will check your education, age, and skills to see if you can do something else. If you are found to be unable to do this, you may receive a disability award.
The process we just described is called a medical vocational allowance approval. Most claims that are approved are approved in this manner. However, some individuals will be awarded by having a condition that meets the criteria of a listing. This is much harder to do since the listing criteria for arthritis and criteria for depression and a number of other conditions is much more specific. More here: The disability list of impairments.
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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