Your doctor cannot put you on disability. Only a review of your application by Social Security Administration (SSA) officials can determine your eligibility for disability benefits and payments. SSA medical experts and vocational experts will, however, review your medical records and care with doctors.
Along with medical records and an interview with doctors who have treated your condition, SSA administrators will also:
- Request your medical records
- Request specific forms
- Request a medical examination
While you will not have to pay for any medical exams or tests the state requests, you should not miss any of these appointments. SSA administrators will use the information in your medical records, exam, and other evidence to reach a determination in your case. A delay in receiving medical records and other evidence could extend the time it takes to reach a decision in your case.
How Social Security Administration Defines Disability
Your doctor can define your current medical condition as disabling. He may even tell you that you have a disability and encourage you to apply for disability benefits. Only SSA administrators, though, can make a final determination on whether or not you are eligible for, and will receive, disability benefits.
SSA administrators will agree that you are disabled if you meet one of the two following criteria:
- Your disability has lasted or will last at least one full year
- Your disability is expected to result in your demise
When your application, medical reports, and other evidence are received, SSA administrators will review your application according to their five-step evaluation process. They will then either approve or deny your request for benefits.
SSA’s Five-Step Evaluation Process
Determining your right to disability benefits means determining whether or not you have a qualifying disability. Social Security Administration officials evaluate your eligibility for benefits based on the following five steps. Each of the following steps advances your application to the next step:
Determining Whether You Are Currently Working
If you are working and you exceed income guidelines, you are not likely to be considered disabled. If you are not currently able to work or you work but do not exceed the income guidelines, your application will go on to the next step.
Determining the Severity of Your Medical Condition
If your medical condition meets SSA’s definition of disabled, your application will move forward to the next step. To meet their criteria, you must prove you are unable to perform basic tasks like sitting, standing, walking, or remembering for a minimum of one full year.
Determining Whether Your Medical Condition is on the List of Qualifying Impairments
This listing of impairments provides specific guidance on qualifying conditions deemed severe enough to prevent you from working. If your current medical condition meets or exceeds these guidelines, your application will move to the next step.
Determining Whether You Can Do the Same Work You Used to Do
Your state agency will try to determine whether or not you can continue doing the same type of work you did before you became disabled. If you cannot do this work, your application advances to the last step.
Determining Whether You Can Do Another Job
Your state will review your age, work history, education, and skills to determine your ability to do a different job. If the state determines you cannot do another type of work, they will consider you disabled.
If your application for benefits is approved, you will receive an approval letter. It will tell you the amount of compensation you will receive and when to expect the first payment. If your application is denied, you will receive a denial letter. If that happens, you can keep fighting for your benefits. Contact our Social Security team to find out more about how we can help.
SSA’s Appeals Process
If your application is denied at first, you do not have to give up on receiving your benefits. Social Security Administration guidelines cite their four-part appeals process as follows:
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
We will make sure your appeal is filed within the mandatory 60-day timeframe. We also make sure you have the evidence and documentation your appeal requires. Our goal is to help you get the monthly benefits you deserve and to let you focus on getting better by leaving the rest to us.
You Could Qualify for Monthly Disability Compensation
Your doctor cannot put you on disability, but you can complete the application to allow Social Security Administration officials to determine your eligibility for disability benefits. When you are ready to explore your disability options, contact the case review team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers by calling us or filling out our online form today.