Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

How does the SSA determine a person’s inability to work

On Behalf of | May 13, 2016 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

When a person in the Houston area suffers a serious injury and is unable to work, they may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Among the federal requirements to qualify for SSD benefits for an injury is a finding that the applicant truly is unable to work. So how does the Social Security Administration determine a person’s inability to work, and whether they can qualify for benefits?

In deciding if an applicant is unable to work, the SSA starts by checking the person’s condition against its Listing of Impairments. If the particular injury at issue is not on the Listing, the SSA must turn to other methods to decide if the applicant should qualify for benefits. In doing so, one of the key questions that the SSA evaluates is whether the person can perform the work that they previously did before suffering the injury.

The SSA considers a number of factors when analyzing what types of work that the SSD benefits applicant can still perform even with their injury. For example, the SSA looks at whether the person can perform work-related activities that require walking, lifting or carrying. In addition, the SSA also determines if the person can handle certain environmental factors that may exist in the workplace like humidity, dust and extreme temperatures. Also critical, the SSA needs to establish whether the person’s injury prevents them from concentrating and understanding instructions, and then acting on those instructions.

After looking at these factors along with a variety of others, the SSA decides whether the person is able to carry out the same type of work as what they did before suffering an injury. This may include jobs that the person performed at any point in the prior 15 years.

In some cases, the SSA will decide that the applicant is capable of working, and thus should not qualify for SSD benefits. If this happens, it is not necessarily the end of the road. An experienced attorney can help people with all issues related to SSD benefits, including a denied claim.

Source: SSA.gov, “How We Decide If You Are Disabled – Step 4: Can you do the work you did previously?,” Accessed on May 5, 2016