In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must go through a five step evaluation. Outlined here is a list of those steps.


Step 1: Income Levels and Past Work History


As you probably know there are two types of Social Security Disability Benefits the first, DIB, is based off your past work history. Social security will determine if you have enough work credits to qualify for this type of benefit. The second type of benefits is SSI which is a needs base benefit. In order to qualify for this type of benefit your total household income must fall below a number that social security has determined, this number changes with household size. Social Security will determine if you are eligible for either or both types of benefits, if you are you will move on to step 2.


Step 2: The Severity Step


You must have a condition, mental or physical, that limits your ability to work full time. Not only does this condition need to inhibit your ability to work but it has to last for at least 12 months. For example, a torn ACL may stop you from being able to work but not for 12 months and therefore would be ineligible for disability benefits. If your condition meets these requirements you will move on to step 3.


Step 3: The Listing of Impairments


Social Security keeps a list of specific conditions they call their listing of impairments. If you meet one of these “listings” you will automatically be qualified for benefits no further questions asked. If you do not meet these requirements you will proceed to step 4.


Step 4: Not Able To Work At Previous Jobs


Social Security calls this past relevant work history, they like to see what you have done in the past and if you can still continue doing that job. For example if you were an accountant a knee disorder won’t affect your ability to work too much, however, if you had worked at a job that kept you on your feet a knee problem will completely rule out your ability to work. If your disability keeps you from doing your former jobs you will move on to step 5.


Step 5: Other Available Work


Lastly, Social Security will have what they call a Vocational Expert look at your skill set as well as your conditions and determine if there are any jobs you will be able to do with your conditions. For this they will look at your past education and experience to determine what types of jobs you could do, then see if your conditions would make those jobs impossible. If your condition does rule out these jobs you will be approved for disability benefits.

Call a Utah Disability Attorney

Navigating your way through these steps and proving your are unable to work can be tricky. 90% of all approved claims have to go to a hearing in front of a judge so having an attorney that can advocate on your behalf at these hearings can make the difference between winning and losing your case. If you need help applying for disability Call Today for your free evaluation.




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