Claiming Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is a complex process. It is time-consuming and easy to make errors that could cause your claim to be denied. To improve your chances of a successful claim, you must understand who decides on claims and how they do so.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the government agency responsible for assessing all disability benefits claims. They will base their decision on several things:
- Your disability: The SSA Blue Book explains what is considered a qualifying disability and the criteria by which they can define if someone has that disability or not. Before claiming, you should read the relevant section to find information about your condition. However, consider it a set of guidelines rather than something set in stone. If you do not meet the criteria, you might still be able to claim.
- How the disability affects your ability to work: Proving you have a condition is one thing. You also need to show how it limits your ability to work. You might need to undergo functional tests to demonstrate this. Again, the SSA’s Blue Book contains guidance.
- Medical evidence: For certain disabilities, you must present specific medical evidence that can take time to gather. The SSA will be looking for proof that you have the condition and how it will affect your work capabilities now and in the future.
The SSA puts the onus on you to prove to them that you are entitled to disability benefits. They are not in a rush to give money away, so any mistakes on your part will leave your claim denied or unresolved. An attorney who has helped others before you can reduce the stress of filing a claim and increase the likelihood of success.