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What does it take to get social security disability benefits?

During the past 20 years this is the first question usually asked by people inquiring about Social Security Disability benefits. The conversation starts with someone telling me about their diagnosed conditions and the difficulty it has caused in their lives or their current job. During this exchange I try to inform the caller that a mere diagnosed condition does not entitle them to benefits under the rules of the Social Security Administration.

What is the definition of disability?

In order to answer their questions, I usually start off with the definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration:

“The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

Simply put, do the limitations and restrictions caused by your medical conditions prevent you from doing your prior work or any other employment given your age, educational background, and current work skills? More importantly, are these limitations and restrictions addressed in their medical records? Once the caller understands the definition, we can then discuss how the Social Security Administration would likely evaluate their claim.

How does a lawyer help evaluate a claim?

At the Law Office of Nicholas G. Callas, P.A., once we determine that the Claimant’s medical condition prevents him/her from working, we move to the second issue: medical evidence. The Social Security Administration is looking for limitations and restrictions specified in the Claimants medical records that prove they would be unable to work on a full-time basis or perform substantial gainful activity.

If the Claimant believes he/she cannot work due to the limitations caused by a physical health problem such as degenerative back or hip condition, etc., then SSA will review medical records for restrictions in lifting, sitting, standing and walking as well as postural limitations (bending, stooping and kneeling, etc.) If the Claimant suffers from mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, etc., then SSA will review the medical records for evidence of problems with concentration, following work instructions and dealing with work stress, etc.

How is evidence for a SSD claim built over time?

Once retained, we work with our clients to build this evidence over time. We review medical records at the onset of the case to see if our clients’ healthcare providers are including limitations and restrictions in their records. If not, we ask our clients to go over their limitations with their doctors. Therefore, at the Law Office of Nicholas G. Callas, P.A. we believe that obtaining disability benefits is a team effort involving the Client, his or her treating healthcare providers and our staff. Only if everyone works together, can we expect to get a favorable decision from the Social Security Administration.

Get In Touch With Our Firm

If you have any questions regarding your social security disability case, please call us at the Law Office of Nicholas G. Callas, P.A. for a free consultation. We are located at 1901 Gadsden Street, Suite B, Columbia, SC 29201. Our phone number is 803-369-3968.