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How does the SSA decide who gets disability benefits?

If you are unable to work due to a diagnosed physical or mental condition, it is possible that you have a rightful claim to Social Security benefits. However, despite how serious your medical condition may be, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the final say in whether you do or do not get disability benefits.

The process of applying for and securing the benefits you deserve is not an easy one. Simply having a condition is not enough, but, rather, Florida applicants must prove that they have valid grounds by providing medical records and other types of documentation. It can be useful to understand how the SSA makes decisions and what qualifies a person for benefits.

The factors that determine if you will get benefits

According to the SSA, a disability is determined based on a person's ability to work. Another program or organization may consider you disabled, but that does not mean that the SSA will have the same perspective on your physical or mental condition. You may be considered disabled if the following apply to your situation:

  • You cannot do the work that you did before the condition developed or your accident occurred.
  • Your medical condition is as such that it does not allow you to effectively adjust to less strenuous or different types of employment.
  • Your disability is expected to last at least a year or ultimately result in death.

If any of these apply to your situation due to your qualifying condition, it is likely that you have a valid claim. Many first-time claims, even valid ones, come back denied, but that is not the end of the road. Individuals who have working spouses, workers' compensation benefits and other financial resources may not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

Can a lawyer really make a difference?

A lawyer cannot change the mind of the SSA or make a ruling go in your favor, but an experienced legal ally can be an invaluable resource as you navigate the complicated legal process of effectively defending your claim and completing the application process.

With the right strategy and the right legal support in your corner, you have a much higher chance of a successful initial claim. Additionally, a disability attorney can help ensure that all paperwork is properly completed and all necessary documentation is gathered, organized and submitted.

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