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Check our blog for updated information and news pertaining to Social Security Disability

Meeting the Severity Requirement

Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months for you to qualify for benefits. You don’t have to wait until you have been unable to work for a whole year to apply for benefits. The SSA will presume that your impairment will meet the duration requirement if it’s the type of condition that obviously will last a long time, for example a serious spinal cord injury.

The Two Routes to Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step sequential process to evaluate whether you are disabled. The process can be a little confusing to follow. Essentially, it provides two alternative routes for proving you are disabled. Either route will lead to a finding that you are disabled.

No Doubt about It- an Appeal Is Worth the Effort

You apply for Social Security disability benefits, wait months to get a decision, and are shocked and disappointed when your claim is denied. You file a request for reconsideration, and after another lengthy wait, you are denied once again. You may wonder “What’s the point in appealing?” Won’t my claim just be denied again?” The answer is, not necessarily.

Meeting the Duration Requirement

To qualify for disability benefits, you must have a “medically determinable impairment” and your impairment must be “severe.” The purpose of this requirement is to eliminate frivolous cases. These are cases in which the claimant’s condition interferes with the ability to work only slightly, or in which the claimant does not have a genuine medical problem.

How Long Will I Wait For a Decision on My Disability Appeal?

The waiting time for claimants to receive a final decision on their disability appeals is reported below for the Northern California and Reno Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). (Waiting time is measured as the number of days from the date an appeal is received by the hearing office to the date a favorable, denial or dismissal decision is issued.

What to do when a claimant dies before the SSA reaches a decision in a disability claim.

Although the Social Security Administration has had some success in reducing their response times for disability applications and appeals, waiting periods remain burdensome for individuals suffering from disabling illnesses and injuries, particularly in instances where an individual must go through the disability hearing process after being denied on the initial and Reconsideration stages.

Qualifying for Disability Based on Mental Impairments

Social Security evaluates mental impairments differently than physical impairments. The purpose of this brief overview is to discuss generally how Social Security evaluates mental impairments and what criteria generally need to be met before a Listing-level impairment is established.

What Should I Do to Ensure I Keep Receiving My Benefits?

Some disability claimants, once they are awarded benefits, worry that something might happen to make the benefits stop. For the most part, you don’t have to worry about this. The vast majority of claimants are found to have their disabilities continued at the first evaluation.

Can My Doctor’s Opinion Be Used to Help My Disability Claim?

Disability attorneys often look to a claimant’s primary doctor or treating physician for a medical opinion as to the client’s impairment. This might be the most important evidence presented in your case, especially because under the SSA rules and regulations, the doctor’s opinion might be “controlling”—that is, the SSA will automatically adopt the doctor’s opinion in its decision.

What Is a Continuing Disability Review?

Even if you are granted Social Security disability benefits, you might later receive notice of a “continuing disability review” and wonder what this is. The Social Security Administration is required by law to periodically review the cases of those who have been awarded disability benefits.

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