Social Security Disability & SSI
The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a person to be disabled and eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if: (1) you cannot work because of your medical condition(s); (2) you cannot do the work you previously did or adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and (3) your medical condition(s) is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. You do not have to be bedridden, but you must be able to show these factors.
The definition of disability under Social Security differs from that in other programs like workers’ compensation. Social Security pays only for total disability, but it does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability.
You have a qualifying disability under the SSD or SSI rules if all of the following are true:
If you have worked enough and paid into Social Security, the Social Security Administration uses a step-by-step process involving five questions to determine if you have a qualifying disability. The five questions are:
SSA generally uses earnings guidelines to evaluate whether your work activity is SGA. If you are working in 2023 and your earnings average more than $1,470 ($2,460 if you’re blind) a month, you generally cannot be considered to have a qualifying disability. If you meet this standard, SSA proceeds to the next step.
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering – for at least 12 months. If it does not, SSA will deny your application.
If you meet this standard, SSA proceeds to the next step.
For each of the major body systems, SSA has a list of medical conditions it considers severe enough to prevent a person from doing SGA. If your condition is not on the list, SSA will decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, SSA will find that you have a qualifying disability. If it is not, then SSA goes to the next step.
At this step, SSA decides if your medical impairment(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it does not, SSA will deny your application. If it does, then SSA goes to the next step.
If you cannot do the work you did in the past, SSA considers if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment(s).
SSA then considers your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot do other work, SSA will award you SSD or SSI benefits.
Our firm welcomes people from the greater Philadelphia area, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and nearby areas. To arrange a free consultation with the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC to discuss Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits, contact us at (610) 446-3457, click here to send us an email, or fill out the form below.