Why are so many applications for Social Security Disability benefits denied? The reasons vary, but many applicants are denied benefits due to the fact that the Social Security Administration determines that they are indeed capable of performing some type of work activity in the national economy. This leaves the question, how do you know whether or not you are actually capable of working when applying for Social Security Disability benefits? After all, you may think you are not able to work, but the Social Security Administration may see it differently.
What factors does the Social Security Administration look at when determining whether or not an individual actually can go out and earn a living? The following information will help you understand exactly how the SSA determines whether an applicant is capable of working or not.
Past Work vs. Any Work
When the Social Security Administration determines whether or not you are disabled according their guidelines, they will consider whether you are able to perform the same type of work you have been doing and, if not, whether or not you are able to perform any type of work at all. If it is determined that your disability does not prevent you from performing the type of work you have always done, then the SSA will determine that you are not disabled according to their guidelines. If you are unable to perform the type of work you have always performed, they will then look at whether or not you can perform any type of work.
The Determining Factors
When determining whether or not you are able to perform any type of work activity, the Social Security Administration will take a number of factors into consideration; including your age, education and the limitations that your disability places on you. If you are between the ages of 18 to 49, the Social Security Administration considers you to be below advanced age. If you are between 50 to 54 years of age, they consider you to be closely approaching advanced age. If you are 55 or older, the SSA considers you to be advanced in age. The older you are, the lesser the chance that you will be able to change careers based on the limitations of your disability.
Your education also plays a role in determining whether or not you are able to perform work. If a 40 year-old construction worker gets a back injury that prevents him from doing the same labor he has done for twenty years, it will likely result in a favorable disability determination. However, if he was 30 years old with a college education, chances are that the Social Security Administration will determine that he is able to perform a different type of work activity, advising him to find a different job.
In the simplest of terms, the Social Security Administration will determine whether or not your disability prevents you from performing any type of job in the national economy. The SSA is not interested in whether or not you would like the type of work. For example, if you are capable of sitting at a desk and doing data entry, they will not allow you Social Security Disability benefits. While this may not make you happy, the SSA will see that there are jobs in the economy that you can maintain, and they will deny your disability benefits based on this fact.
What If You Disagree with The Decision?
If you are unable to perform the type of work that you have performed in the past and you cannot possibly perform any other type of work activity, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits. If the Social Security Administration denies your claim for disability benefits, do not be surprised. As mentioned above, the majority of Social Security Disability applications are denied during the initial stage of the claim process. Do not give up on the benefits you may be entitled to. You should go on to appeal the denial of your Social Security Disability benefits. Two-thirds of disability appeals are won at the hearing stage of the Social Security Disability appeal process.
If you do decide to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you may want to consider retaining the services of a disability attorney or advocate when filing your claim. Statistics show that individuals who have legal representation during the disability claim and appeal process are more likely to be awarded benefits than those who pursue their Social Security Disability claim without proper representation.