Social Security Claims

All claims begin with the filing of an application with the Social Security Administration. The timing of a filing can have a big impact on the amount of benefits that are payable so generally the sooner you can file an application the better. If you contact Social Security to inquire about filing an application they can document that date and use it as the date you filed your application, this is known as protective filing date. Applications can be complex and even simple mistakes can result in a denial of benefits. At the Law Offices of Steven R. Dolson, PLLC we assist claimants at all levels of the process, including, filing applications on their behalf.

Who Qualifies for SSDI benefits?

SSDI benefits are benefits that are paid to disabled workers and their immediate family members. In order to qualify you, your parent, or spouse must have worked during specific periods of time. The Administration utilizes quarters of earnings to determine the time periods. The required time periods vary by age of the claimant.

The definition of “disability”: Social Security defines disability as an inability to do substantial gainful activity as a result of a severe impairment that is likely to continue for at least twelve consecutive months or result in the death of the person:

In order to adjudicate a claim the Commissioner of Social Security has set forth a five-step sequential evaluation process within 20 C.F.R. §404.1520 and 20 C.F.R.§416.920, which can be summarized in the following manner:

Step 1: If a claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity, then he will be found to be not-disabled. If he is not engaged in substantial gainful activity, the process continues to Step 2.

Step 2: If the claimant has a medically determinable impairment that creates functional limitations that last for 12 months or more or results in the death of the person the claim proceeds to Step 3, otherwise the person will be found not disabled.

Step 3: If the claimant has a severe impairment that meets or medically equals an impairment found within Appendix 1 of 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, then he will be found disabled, otherwise the claim proceeds to Step 4.

Step 4: The claimant’s residual functional capacity is determined and compared to the claimant’s past relevant work. If the claimant is capable of returning to past relevant work, the claimant is found not-disabled. If the claimant is unable to return to past-relevant work, then the claim proceeds to Step 5.

Step 5: A determination is made as to whether or not a significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that a person given the claimant’s residual functional capacity, age, education, and experience can perform. If there are a significant number of jobs that such a person could perform, the person is found to be not disabled. If there are not a significant number of jobs such a person could perform, then the person is found to be disabled.

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