How Does the Social Security Administration Determine If a Person Is Disabled?

Did you know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step evaluation to determine if a person is disabled?

The SSA determines if a person is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits through an initial application, which briefly explains why a person believes that he or she is disabled. This application includes forms that must be filled out and sent to the agency.

After this, the SSA usually attempts to get a person’s medical records and may schedule an applicant to receive a consultative examination with a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

If your application is denied, you are eligible for reconsideration and potentially a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and several other appeals before various courts. This is why it is extremely important to seek qualified legal representation when applying for SSDI or going through the appeals process.

It should be noted that nearly 80 percent of SSDI applicants are denied at the initial level, and fewer than four in 10 are approved after all levels of appeal.

How Does SSDI Help Americans?

It is estimated that more than 10.1 million people were paid SSDI benefits in 2012. These benefits are vital to the American economy. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) recently reported that in most cases, SSDI benefits replace about half or less of a worker’s earnings.

If you are unable to work because of a disability, you should be able to support yourself using the system that you paid into. SSDI recipients live modestly—the average benefit is about $1,140 per month, which is barely above the federal poverty line, according to the NOSSCR.

Do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation if you need counsel for a SSDI application or appeal.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers


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