Social Security Disability Lawyers

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    How does the Social Security Administration Define Disability?

    Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) are designed to help people who are disabled. Social Security has a five step process when determining disability. These steps apply for both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

    STEP 1: Are You Working?

    The general definition of disability is unable to work; however, there are many different situations as to what is defined as work.  How many hours your work, the type of activity or work you are doing and the amount you are making are all factors in determining whether you are “working”.  Under social security rules, this is referred to as substantial gainful activity. 

    Five step process

    STEP 2: Is Your Condition Severe?

    Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering – for at least 12 months. If it does not, Social Security will find that you are not disabled. How do you prove that your condition is severe? Your medical records are very important in proving disability.  Also, knowing what questions to pose to your doctor in getting a residual functional capacity form can make the difference in your case.

    If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.

    STEP 3: Is Your Condition Found in the List of Disabling Conditions?

    For each of the major body systems, Social Security maintains a list of medical conditions that it considers so severe that it prevents a person from completing substantial gainful activity. This Listing of Impairments is broken down into “Adults” and “Children” lists and are then further categorized by the type of impairment.  The conditions are currently divided into 14 categories, according to body system:

    • Musculoskeletal System Impairments
    • Special Senses and Speech Disorders
    • Respiratory System Impairments
    • Cardiovascular System Impairments- such as chronic heart failure
    • Digestive System Impairments
    • Genitourinary Disorders
    • Hematological Disorders (such as sickle cell disease, chronic thrombocytopenia, and chronic anemia)
    • Endocrine Disorders
    • Neurological Disorders
    • Skin Disorders
    • Mental Disorders
    • Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)
    • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
    • Immune System Disorders

    If your condition is not on the list, Social Security has to decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, Social Security will find that you are disabled. If it is not, then go to Step 4.

    STEP 4: Can You do the Work You did Previously?

    At this step, Social Security will decide if your medical impairment(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it doesn’t, Social Security will decide that you don’t have a qualifying disability. If it does, then proceed to Step 5.

    STEP 5: Can You do any Other Type of Work?

    If you can’t do the work you did in the past, Social Security will then look to see if there is other work you could do despite your impairment(s). A host of factors are considered at this step including not just your medical conditions, but your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. The rules are different depending on your age-most notably at ages 50 and 55.  In addition, if your past work involved standing, lifting, or was skilled work, that may be a big difference in finding you disabled. If you can’t do other work taking into account those factors, Social Security will decide that you are disabled. If you can do other work, then Social Security will decide that you don’t have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.

    Helping Individuals APPLY for Social Security Disability OR APPEAL a denied claim

    The experienced Michigan Social Security lawyers at Thurswell Law assist clients with filing their initial applications for SSI and SSDI benefits—AND with appealing a denied claim—every day. Our experienced legal team can assist you with your filing and/or appealing a denied claim and will fight for your right to obtain the benefits you deserve.

    Benefit Denial and Appeal Rights

    It is important to understand that the Social Security Administration denies many applicants at the initial stage. If you are denied benefits, you should not become discouraged. If you are disabled, you have a legal right to pursue benefits and to contact Thurswell Law immediately for a free consultation to discuss your next steps.

    Speak With a Michigan Social Security Lawyer Today

    The process of filing for and obtaining Social Security benefits in Michigan can be unknowingly tricky. The knowledgeable legal team at Thurswell Law can explain every step of the process to you and can assist you with filing your application or appealing a denial.

    To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Michigan Social Security lawyer, please contact us online or call us at (248) 665‑8600.

    Thurswell Law Can Help

    If you are unable to work because of a medical condition, it is important to consult with a Michigan Social Security Disability / SSI attorney who has the knowledge and experience necessary to help. For more information, or for a free consultation, reach out to Thurswell Law toll-free at (248) 665-8600.