If you become disabled and cannot work, you can file for social security disability benefits. Benefits are awarded based on the disability's impact on the claimant's ability to work (or, in the case of minor children, their ability to engage in various age-appropriate activities).
For social security disability and ssi disability claims involving physical health problems, the examiner will evaluate a claimant's past work history and determine if the claimant can perform any of those previous tasks.
If the examiner finds that the claimant is not capable of engaging in past work, the examiner will move on to the next step in the evaluation process to ascertain if the claimant is capable of doing "other work". Other work is ordinarily a range of jobs for which a social security disability claimant might be considered suitable based on current physical capabilities and past work skills.
However, when social security disability examiners look at claims for social security benefits based on disability, the process becomes significantly more detailed than just looking at these two issues. In deciding which type of work a claimant might still be capable of performing, and considering the claimant's current physical capabilities with regard to that prospect, the disability examiner will also review a whole range of physical issues. For instance, based on a review of the claimant's medical evidence, how well can the claimant perform overhead reaching, or finger movements?
If the medical issues involved include degenerative disease such as arthritis in the extremities, the ability to raise one's arms to shoulder level or higher might be significantly impaired, as well as might be the ability to use the hands in an intricate fashion. If that's the case, a claimant could not reasonably be expected to hold a job for which either the ability to reach overhead, or employ a significant level of finger dexterity, is required. Such a claimant would liklley be awarded social security disability benefits.
However, such physical restrictions will be enough to relieve a claimant from doing past work yet will nonetheless result in a claimant being denied due to a determination that they are capable of performing a type of other work that is not ruled out by their physical restrictions.
To gain social security disability benefits, an examiner looks for sufficient and recent medical evidence that supports an individual's claim that they are not capable of performing any work they did in the past or any other reasonable work and that this incapacity has lasted, or will last for a period of not less than twelve full months.
Knowing how to manage your finances, even your social security decisions, is a challenge. You can find other related information in our blog Retirement Income.
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