How Does the Social Security Administration Determine I am Capable of Working?

Step 5: A Tulsa Social Security Disability Lawyer Explains Work and Social Security Eligibility

After the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that a claimant, or the person filing for disability benefits, cannot perform his or her past relevant work, the next step is to determine whether he/she can perform other jobs in the regional or national economy. To make this determination, the Social Security Administration will review the following:

  • Your age: Age is a factor that the SSA takes into account when considering your ability to learn new skills
  • Your education: The SSA uses this to determine your skill set and any possible jobs you can perform
  • Any skillset gained from past work responsibilities
  • Residual functional capacity (RFC) (described below)

Additionally, an experienced Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer from our firm can help you determine if any of the above can affect your Social Security eligibility.

What Is Residual Functional Capacity?

Your RFC helps the SSA determine if there are any other possible employment opportunities available to you. Your RFC is a description of your functional limitations. It may take into account such restrictions as:

  • The amount of weight that you can lift or carry
  • The length of time you can stand continuously
  • The length of time you can sit continuously
  • Your mental limitations with respect to working with other employees or the public
  • Environmental restrictions
  • And other factors

If the Social Security Administration determines your residual functioning capacity leaves you capable of fulfilling an alternative means of employment, then the SSA will not find you disabled. However, if the SSA finds there are not a significant number of jobs you can perform, then the SSA will determine that you are disabled. It will then award you disability benefits.

What If My Disability Keeps Me From Being Hired?

A common misunderstanding many claimants have is that they believe they have a disability because no one will hire them. The fact that no one will hire you does not matter to the Social Security Administration. The sole question is whether you could perform a job if an employer hired you. If there are a significant number of jobs you could perform according to your residual functional capacity, then you are not disabled regardless of whether or not anyone will hire you.

Am I Disabled If I Can Still Work?

The SSA will not consider any person capable of working in any capacity to be disabled. This is true even if the disability prevents you from returning to your previous job, or prevents you from making a similar income as before.

For example, a disability may prevent an electrician from returning to his or her previous position where he or she earned $50,000 per year. However, the SSA may determine that the electrician is able to perform the job of a ticket taker at a movie theater for minimum wage.

If you can hold employment based on your RFC, then the SSA will not find you to have a disability. Therefore, you are not eligible for Social Security benefits.

How Does Age Affect Social Security Disability?

Disability law recognizes that it is more difficult for us to make the adjustment to other types of work as we get older. For example, the law recognizes that a person who is over 50 years of age would have difficulty making the adjustment required for many sedentary jobs.

While the law clearly makes it easier for the SSA to find a person disabled after the age of 50, this does not mean it is easy to get disability benefits once a person turns 50. A claimant must still be able to show, at Step 4 of the disability requirements evaluation, that he or she cannot perform past relevant work.

Talk to a Tulsa SSI Attorney in a Free Consultation

Each Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer can explain the types of jobs that may be applicable to you. We can also tell you what the SSA is looking for with your disability claim. Take advantage of our free consultation. There is no financial risk to learning how our lawyers can help you apply for disability. We also encourage you to ask our disability attorneys your Social Security questions. We only receive payment for representing you if you receive benefits. Attorney fees for Social Security claims cannot exceed 25 percent of the back benefits pay or $6,000, whichever is less.

Our motivation combined with our personal approach allows us to give your claim the focus it would not receive from larger firms that do not focus on disability law. Our disability lawyers value the importance of your claim and will do our best to pursue the benefits you deserve. Please call a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer from Troutman & Troutman to help with your disability claim today.