SSD: Who Decides if You’re Disabled?

If you were recently disabled and the condition is so severe that you are not able to work and earn a living, you may want to consider applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If you’re like most people, you may have never thought about being disabled before until it happened to you. But according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1 in 4 chance of suffering from a disabling condition before he or she reaches full retirement age.

Just because someone is injured or sick, it doesn’t mean they will qualify for disability benefits. Why? Because, the SSA has a very strict definition of a disability, so not every disabled worker meets the SSA’s criteria. For example, suppose a roofer fell off a ladder and as a result, permanently became paralyzed from the waist down. The SSA would want to know, “Does he have the use of his hands? Can he still type or answer phones?” If he could still do these things, he may not qualify for SSD benefits.

Who Issues Disability Decisions?

Being approved for disability benefits goes beyond meeting the SSA’s definition of a disability. You also must have worked long enough to earn enough work credits. If you’ve never worked before, or if you’ve only worked for a short period of time, you may not be approved for benefits. “Who decides if I am disabled and can receive disability benefits?” The SSA will review your disability application to make sure you meet all the requirements for benefits. The agency will check your work history and if you have worked long enough to qualify. Also, they will look into your most recent work record. If you meet the requirements in this initial phase, the agency will process your application and forward it to the Disability Determination Services Office in Texas. This Texas agency will complete the disability determination. The agency’s doctors and disability specialists will reach out to your doctors about your condition and they’ll consider all the facts of your case. They’ll refer to medical evidence from hospitals, doctors, and clinics that have treated you. They’ll also ask your healthcare providers about your ability to walk, sit, lift, carry objects, and remember instructions. Keep in mind that your doctors are not the ones who decide if you’re disabled and cannot perform work-related activities. The state agency in Texas is the one that will decide if you are disabled and qualify for disability benefits.

To file a disability claim in Plano, contact our firm today!

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