Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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Key factors the SSA considers before granting SSD -- Part II


It may come as a surprise to many New Jersey residents that the Social Security Administration rejects two-thirds of all applications for Social Security disability benefits. The rejections are mainly based on one or more of the five crucial factors that the SSA considers before granting SSD benefits. As mentioned in the previous blog post, those factors pertain to an applicant's work history and prospects and that applicant's disability in addition to the present income of the applicant from all sources.

According to current guidelines, the SSA makes two calculations to determine whether an applicant has paid enough Social Security taxes in order to be eligible for SSD benefits. The first calculation is called the "recent work test," which shows how many years a worker has worked in a predetermined time period prior to becoming disabled. The second calculation is the "duration of work test," which shows how many years the worker has worked prior to becoming disabled, irrespective of any fixed time period.

After the "recent work test" and the "duration of work" test, the SSA looks at the severity of the medical condition for which a person is applying for SSD benefits. According to the guidelines, the person must have already been disabled for 12 months or it must have been stated that the disability has lasted 12 months. Additionally, the disability must have had a severe impact on all work-related activities. Also, the disability that is identified by the applicant must be in the SSA's list of impairments, which prevent a person from working.

Next, the SSA checks two more work-related factors before granting SSD benefits. First, the SSA will determine if the applicant's disability has resulted in that worker becoming unable to perform the work that the person did prior to becoming disabled. Second, the SSA will determine whether the applicant's disability is severe enough to prevent the person from performing any other type of work as well.

While those criteria may seem simple, the fact remains that the SSA's screening of applications is strict and, as a result, so many applications are rejected. Therefore, for a successful SSD benefits claim, an applicant may benefit greatly if the person chooses to retain legal representation at the time of filing for SSD benefits.

Source: Motley Fool, "Social Security Disability Requirements: 5 Things You Need to Know," Dayana Yochim, July 20, 2015

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