Frequently Asked Questions about Qualifying for Disability Benefits

Here are some common questions and answers about disability benefits from an Oakland Social Security disability law firm.



How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine whether claimants are disabled or are not disabled?



To make a finding of disability, the Social Security Administration will examine what kinds of work-related activities a claimant can do taking his or her impairments into account. The technical term for this is “residual functional capacity” or “RFC”. Ask your Oakland disability lawyer how to evaluate your RFC. Using the RFC, the SSA decision-maker will assess whether the claimant is capable of doing any of the jobs he or she has held in the last 15 years. If yes, the claimant is not disabled. If no, the SSA will then use the claimant’s RFC to establish a general work level: sedentary, light, or medium work. The decision-maker then applies the claimant’s relevant information (including, age, education, and work experience) to a table developed by the Social Security Administration which directs a finding of disabled or not disabled.



If a claimant has a drug or alcohol addiction, can he or she still qualify for Social Security disability benefits?



Your Oakland Social Security disability law firm can answer this question in more detail. In general, qualifying for benefits depends on the answer to the following question: if the claimant were to hypothetically stop using drugs or alcohol, would he or she be able to resume working? If so - if the claimant would be able to work if he or she stopped using drugs or alcohol – then the addiction is considered material to the claimant’s ability to work, and the claimant will be found to be not disabled. If, on the other hand, the claimant would still be unable to work even if he or she stopped using drugs or alcohol, then the addiction is not material to the claim for disability benefits and he or she may be found eligible for benefits.


For more information about your Social Security disability claim or appeal, contact an Oakland Social Security disability law firm. Call LaPorte Law Firm at 1 800-735-3425.