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Are you disabled? How the SSA decides

The Social Security Administration's (SSA) Disability Determination Services (DDS) office uses five criteria to determine whether a person is disabled, according to the agency's website. Their findings in these areas are a large contributor to the acceptance or denial of social security disability claims.

If an individual is gainfully employed, i.e. working and earning more than $1,000 per month, they cannot be considered disabled in most cases. If the person is either not working or earning less than the minimum amount per month, their case then proceeds to the DDS.

The severity of the individual's condition is then taken into account. In order to qualify for benefits, the condition must impede daily work activities.

At the next stage, some people will be qualified as disabled automatically. The DDS checks the claimant's illness against a standard, the SSA's Listing of Impairments. If their disorder is on the list, and meets the severity threshold established by the SSA, they are considered disabled. If not, the agency proceeds with their evaluation.

In the fourth step, the DDS considers whether the person can perform his current or previous job in his current circumstances. If it is found that the condition would not impair an individual's ability to work in a job he previously held, the claim will be most likely denied.

Finally, the DDS judges whether there is any other type of work that could be performed with the person's condition. Here, the DDS takes additional factors into consideration, like the person's age, education and professional skills. If the agency believes that the individual could reasonably do other work, they will deny the claim.

If your social security disability claim has been denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. An experienced New Hampshire social security attorney can help you to fill out your application and receive benefits you may be entitled to.

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