Are you unable to work due to physical disability or mental illness? Minnesota Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney Gregg Nelson is here to help, whether you are applying for benefits or appealing a denial. With most other firms, you are just a number — you may not even meet your attorney until months after you have begun the process. That is not how we operate. Your very first meeting will be with attorney Gregg Nelson, and from that point through case resolution, we will take great care of you every step of the way.
The Social Security Administration defines disability as an inability to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medical condition that affects your mental or physical abilities. This condition must be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
Two Different Programs
The Social Security Administration provides benefits to disabled individuals who submit a claim and are unable to work due to medical conditions. Benefits are paid through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Eligibility requirements are different for the two programs. An individual can receive both types of benefits if the eligibility requirements are met.
SSDI provides benefits based on your work history. SSI, on the other hand, provides benefits for the aged, blind, and disabled with low incomes. Differentiating between these two programs can be complicated.
Five-Step Analysis for Disability Claims
STEP 1: Are you working? If you are working, and your earnings averaged more than $1,260 per month last year (during the year 2020), that is considered Substantial Gainful Activity, and Social Security probably won’t consider you to be disabled. Social Security Regulations explain “substantial gainful activity” and whether work activity is not gainful activity, or is done under special conditions or is an unsuccessful work attempt. The “Substantial Gainful Activity” Monthly Earnings Amount for 2021 is $1,310. Social Security averages your income when determining Substantial Gainful Activity.
STEP 2: Is your condition severe? Your impairments must interfere with basic work-related activities for you to be considered disabled. Your physical and/or mental impairment must be determined (proved) by medical evidence. There is a “duration requirement” that says your impairment(s) must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or be expected to result in your death.
STEP 3: Is your condition found in the list of disabling impairments? Social Security has a listing of impairments for each of the major body systems. Links to Listings.
If your disability is described in the listing, that automatically means you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, Social Security has to decide if it is of equal severity to an impairment on the list. If it is, your claim is approved. If it is not, we go to the next step.
STEP 4: Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal severity as an impairment on the list, then Social Security must determine if your disability interferes with your ability to do the work you did during the last 15 years. If it doesn’t (meaning you can still work at one of your old jobs), your claim will be denied. If it does, your claim will be considered further, and we move on to Step 5.
STEP 5: Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do the work you did in the last 15 years, Social Security looks to see if you can do any other type of work. They consider your age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills, and they review the job demands of occupations that were determined by the Department of Labor in a Dictionary that was last updated in 1991. If you cannot do any other kind of work, your claim will be approved.
To answer the 5 questions, Social Security has to review the reports from all of the doctors, hospitals, and clinics that have treated you. Information about any medication you are taking is also important. The law requires the people at Social Security to consider all of the evidence, and all of your impairments, when they make a disability decision.
Social Security must look at the combined effects of every impairment. I will explain to Social Security how the combined effects of your impairments prevent you from working.
The person who decides your claim must use the logic of a doctor, a lawyer, and a rehabilitation counselor to decide if you are eligible for benefits. The decision combines your medical records and your work history with Social Security’s complex regulations and policies.
Getting the medical evidence delivered directly to the person who is deciding your claim is an important part of the service that we provide to you when you become a client. Your disability decision will be made properly as soon as Social Security gets the evidence it needs to answer all 5 questions in your favor. Call (651) 483-1520 for a free case evaluation.
For more information, we invite you to schedule a free consultation. Please call 651-483-1520 or complete our contact form.
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St. Paul, MN 55076
5754 Blackshire Path, South Saint Paul, Minnesota 55076, United States
Appointments are available at our mobile office serving Brainerd and West Central MN. Hours vary, please call 651-483-1520