How The SSA Judges Your Ability To Work

Getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a lengthy and complicated process. Part of what makes the approval time so lengthy is determining whether or not an applicant, given their disability, can still work at their most recent job or at any job. Read on to find out more about this important aspect of your approval for benefits.

Getting Your Doctor Involved

To be approved for benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that an applicant be able to demonstrate that they are not only afflicted with a disorder but that the disorder negatively affects the ability to perform the tasks of their job. Unfortunately, SSA workers are not medical professionals, so they use outside sources to assist in the gathering of information. The manner of deciding on your ability to do a job is based on several parameters such as how much weight you can carry and how long you can stand and walk. The SSA provides applicants with a helpful form that can be printed from the SSA website or is available by mail or in person. This form, the Physical Residual Functioning Capacity Assessment, is to be completed by your doctor and gives the SSA picture of where you stand in regard to attending to common job tasks.

Your Doctor Knows Best

There is an alternative to having your doctor complete the above form, but having your doctor take this action can benefit you in several ways:

  • Your doctor's opinion carries a great deal of weight with the SSA.
  • There is space for your doctor to add comments about the state of your health that can provide further proof of your impairment to the SSA.
  • Personal observations of your impairments are more accurate.

The DDS Option

The SSA arm that looks into your ability to work at a job is known as disability determination services (DDS). If the DDS requires more information about your situation and/or you are not able to provide recent evidence of your medical condition, they may refer you to an outside medical consultant. This doctor fills out and submits the same form that is provided to your personal doctor but without the personal touch. In fact, the medical consultant is paid by the SSA and might be viewed as less than unbiased. Unfortunately, some cases end up being rejected.

If you are denied due to not being able to prove that your condition is preventing you from working, that is an issue that can be resolved at the appeal hearing, with the help of a Social Security attorney.