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Clarifying the definition of "disability" for SSD purposes

California residents who are unable to work may be allowed to collect Social Security Disability benefits if they meet strict criteria. For instance, they will need to show that their disabilities will last for at least a year or cause death. Furthermore, they will need to show that they cannot do any type of work because of a mental or physical condition.

To determine if a person meets the standards to be considered disabled, information is collected for a variety of sources. Generally, an examiner will ask an applicant's doctor or other treatment providers about that person's condition. The examiner will ask questions about how a condition specifically interferes with the applicant's ability to live or work normally. If there isn't enough information to make a clear decision, an individual will be asked to attend an examination that the government pays for.

A disability may result in a person not being able to work for many months or years. In some cases, an individual may not be able to work again because of a mental or physical ailment. However, it is not uncommon for disability benefits applications to be denied or to come back with a request for more information about an ailment. Generally speaking, it can be a good idea to go through the application process with the assistance of a legal representative.

This can be ideal because an attorney may understand the appeal process and how to prepare for it. In many cases, applications are approved at the hearing level, and legal counsel may help a person prepare for any questions that he or she could be asked. Furthermore, counsel may be able to gather information needed to help a judge approve a request for SSD benefits.

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