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Do I qualify for Social Security Disability?

If one is disabled, regardless of the reason, they may qualify for disability benefits. In California, that could be state disability benefits for short-term disabilities, but for longer-term disabilities, the federal Social Security Administration can provide benefits. These disability benefits are called Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Determining eligibility

SSA determines whether one is eligible for benefits, which is based on an applicant’s inability to work because of their disability. The term, disability, is defined as something that is more than a temporary injury or short-term illness. It must be a physical or medical condition, which has already lasted or is diagnosed to last for more than 12 months or is expected to kill the applicant. A key requirement is that the inability to work is not just for one’s immediate job, but also applies to all other types of work. The impairment must also be the main or principal reason that the applicant cannot work.

Are their limits to what kind of disabilities qualify?

Generally, no. The analysis focuses on the severity of the impairment. It can be a psychological condition, physical disability or some combination of both. The key is that the medical impairment must be documented through medical evidence

What does an ability to work mean?

Essentially, the medical impairment must be severe. It must be so severe that the applicant cannot perform basic work activities. These work activities include responding to a supervisor, communicating generally, sitting, reaching, lifting and walking.

What is medical evidence?

The medical evidence submitted as part of a disability application substantiates the claims in the application. This medical evidence must be a diagnosis and a report by a physician, which includes symptoms, laboratory findings and clinical signs, which all must substantiate the claimed medical impairment. It should also include medical records, including those from the physician themselves, any hospital stays, any other physician medical records, clinic records, etc. Keep in mind though, the SSA, in analyzing this information, they will also consider how treatment could affect the applicant’s symptoms and ability to work.

Put another way, for Folsom, California, applicants, the SSA is looking at whether applicants can engage in “substantial gainful activity” with the reported medical impairment. If not, it is likely that the applicant will be entitled to benefits.