Five Steps of Assessing a Social Security Disability

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As a federal program, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income allow for those with disability to pursue benefits. The two programs are separate and have their own details, but they are both governed by the Social Security Administration and require that a person have a disability in order to apply. The benefits that can be sought through the Supplemental Security Income will be dependent on the financial needs of the individual applying. Social Security Disability Insurance differs in that it can be paid to a worker or their family member if they have been working for a long enough period of time. This form requires ongoing payments from a worker and these are often taken out of their check. This is a form of insurance that in the event that they have a need arise, they are covered.

The first thing that will need to be established is what form a person may be eligible for. The granting of benefits will depend largely on the medical assessment of the individual and if they are found to have significant enough damage. There are many medical reasons that can make a person eligible and gaining an assessment should be done as soon as possible. When assessing whether a person is disabled, the government takes a five-step approach. This begins by reviewing if the person is working or has recently been working, and was receiving over $1,010 on average each month. For those that do not meet these two criteria, they will be automatically skipped. The next process is determining if the disability is severe enough and does in fact hinder them from their abilities necessary at work. In order to move on to the next step, step two will need to be passed.

Step three looks at whether or not the condition falls into the categories of the governments listed medical conditions. More about these approved conditions can be found on the official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration. Those injuries that are listed will automatically qualify a person as disabled. An injury that is not on the list will not be automatically disqualified, but will need to go to review. If it is found to be as severe as another injury on the official list, then the individual will move on to the next step. There are other situations which the government looks at as a unique, such as a wounded warrior, a widower of a worker, a disabled child or a person that is blind. An important question that is asked is if in light of this disability the worker is able to perform the same function they previously did. Those that are found to be unable to carry out the tasks of their former job will move on to step 5; the final step.

This will ask if the disabled party would be able to perform another job and would be able to undergo training to learn this new area. This takes into account their injury, as well as their already established skills, age, work experience and their education. For those that are found unable to transfer into a new field, they will be passed through and given benefits, though the amount of these can differ. Up to four credits are given each year a person works and puts money towards their disability. These amounts can change and for 2012, a credit can be earned for every $1,130 that a person gains through their income. These credits must be gained within a certain amount of time in order to gain benefits and depending on age, different amounts of credits may be necessary.

Those that are younger and have been paying for benefits will be assessed on more of an individual basis. Unfortunately, many individuals find their claims denied for medical and non-medical reasons. They can have a serious disability that leaves them unable to function properly for the duties that their job demands. Cases can be appealed and the government may find after reconsideration that there are in fact needs for their service. It is important to take caution each step of the way to avoid any errors that may cause a setback.

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