TheElder & Disability Law Firm, APC
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Rules for filing a disability claim with Social Security

Few in California want to admit that a disability prevents him or her from gainful employment. But an illness or injury makes this an unavoidable situation for some. Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) are obtainable for those who cannot work, but can be a difficult task to be awarded benefits.

The issue becomes when to apply for disability benefits. To answer this question, a person has to understand some of the basic rules of SSDI law. These rules can be complex. The first thing to understand is that SSDI is not a temporary disability or partial disability insurer. The claimant must be disabled to the extent that past work is not possible. In addition, the injury or illness preventing employment has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months.

Whether someone is disabled is the area where complexity can come in. Under SSDI rules, the person must be disabled to the extent that the person cannot perform the job duties of past relevant employment, nor any other jobs based on the claimant's work experience, education, training and residual functional capacity (RFC).

RFC is often the main issue in a claim. It is a medical determination of the severity of the claimant's disability. It is rated by considering the physical and mental tasks a person can perform on a day to day basis. The RFC is evaluated based on medical records, reports from the claimant's medical team and physicians retained by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If a person works sporadically or part-time, the claimant still may be disabled if the earnings do not reach the level of substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Though the claims process is not intended to be adversarial, it often is. In these situations, an experienced disability attorney might make a positive difference in the outcome of a case.

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