Advice from a Cleveland disability attorney for obtaining Social Security disability benefits
Social Security disability claimants nationally and in Northeast Ohio face tough odds. Across the country about two-thirds of the people who apply for Social Security disability will receive denial letters from the Social Security Administration. Denial rates for Cleveland and other Northeast Ohio residents are similar. But persistence pays off.
The chances of success improve significantly for those who appeal their denials. Over half of Social Security disability claimants who appeal, both in the Northeast Ohio area and nationally, are ultimately awarded disability benefits.
Here’s the bottom line. Do you believe you are unable to work? If the answer is yes, you should apply for disability. And if you are denied, do not give up. File an appeal.
How the Social Security Administration decides if you are eligible for disability benefits
Social Security law states that you are disabled only if your physical or mental impairment is so severe that you are unable to do your previous work and you cannot, considering your age, education, and work experience, do any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy. The Social Security Administration uses a five-step “sequential evaluation process” described below to apply this definition to each claimant’s case. The words in quotes are terms of art, which means they have particular definitions in Social Security law.
Step 1. Are you gainfully employed?
Your claim for disability benefits will be denied if you are doing “substantial gainful activity” no matter how bad your health or severe your impairments are. Substantial gainful activity means work that pays you at least a minimum monthly salary. The amount is specified by law and is adjusted every year. In addition, our Cleveland Social Security disability lawyer knows that the work must involve more than minimal physical or mental activities. If you are not doing substantial gainful activity, your claim moves on to Step 2.
Step 2. Is your physical or mental impairment “severe”?
There are three requirements for this step: (a) Your impairment must significantly limit your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities (e.g., walking, standing, pushing, pulling, following simple directions). (b) Your impairment must be “medically determinable,” which means a doctor must be able to diagnose it. (c) Finally, your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last more than 12 months or result in death. If your impairment is “severe,” your claim moves on to Step 3.
Step 3. Does your impairment meet or equal a medical listing?
The Listings of Impairments are Social Security regulations that set medical standards for a variety of common physical and mental conditions. A person whose medical findings and symptoms meet or “equal” these standards is so incapacitated that the Social Security Administration presumes he or she is unable to work. If you satisfy this step, you qualify for disability benefits. There is no need to continue with the last two steps. If your impairment does not meet or equal a listing, your claim moves on to Step 4.
Step 4. Can you do any of your previous jobs?
Unless your impairment meets or equals a listing, you will not be found disabled if you can still do your “past relevant work.” Past relevant work is any “substantial gainful activity” you did during the past 15 years for a long enough time to learn the job. Thus, to meet this step, you usually must prove that you can no longer do the easiest job that you held in the last 15 years. If you cannot do past relevant work, your claim progresses to Step 5.
Step 5. Can you do other generally available jobs?
You will not be found disabled if you can perform other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the economy. At this step the Social Security Administration considers your age, education, remaining capacity for work (“residual functional capacity”), and work experience. After you reach the age of 50, it becomes easier to satisfy this step. If you cannot do other generally available jobs, you will be eligible for disability benefits.
Cleveland Social Security disability lawyer available for your disability case
Whether your claim has been denied or you are just applying, I am available to help. I have assisted thousands of claimants since 1985, providing personal attention to every client and every claim. I handle all types of impairments, including:
|– Anxiety||– Heart disease|
|– Arthritis and joint pain||– Hepatitis and liver failure|
|– Asthma||– Bowel and bladder problems|
|– Back pain||– Leukemia and lymphoma|
|– Bipolar disorder||– Lupus|
|– Cancer||– Multiple sclerosis|
|– Depression||– Stroke|
|– Diabetes||– Vision, hearing, and speech impairments|
|– Epilepsy||– And many more|
Whatever your impairment, I will evaluate your claim without charge or obligation. To obtain my assessment, complete the form to the right and I will respond promptly. Or you may contact me at:
John Paul Oreh
Cleveland Social Security Disability Lawyer