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How hard is it to obtain Social Security disability benefits in Los Angeles County and Orange County?
Nationally, two-thirds of those who apply are denied Social Security disability benefits. Los Angeles County and Orange County residents face similar odds. However, over half of Social Security claimants who appeal their denials will ultimately be awarded disability benefits.
Are you eligible for Social Security disability benefits?
Your ability to work, age, education, and recent jobs are the key factors affecting disability determination. But the Social Security Administration’s evaluation process is complex and its determinations can sometimes defy common sense.
The Social Security Administration uses a five-step approach to evaluating disability claims, which it calls the sequential evaluation process. Here is a simplified description of the steps. The words in quotes have special Social Security Administration definitions.
Step 1: Working.
You will not be found disabled if you are doing “substantial gainful activity.” To the Social Security Administration, substantial gainful activity means work that involves more than minimal duties and pays $1,000 per month or more.
Step 2: Mental and physical health.
You are not disabled in the Social Security Administration’s eyes if you do not have a “severe” impairment. The Social Security Administration finds an impairment or combination of impairments severe if it significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities like dealing with changes in a routine work setting; walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying, and handling; seeing, hearing, and speaking; understanding, carrying out, and remembering simple instructions; use of judgment; and responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and usual work situations.
Step 3: Listed impairment.
The Social Security Administration will find you disabled if your impairment (a) meets or “equals” one of the impairments described in the Social Security regulations known as the Listing of Impairments and (b) has lasted or is expected to last more than 12 months.
Step 4: Last jobs.
Your “residual functional capacity” shows that you are not disabled if you can still do your “past relevant work.” To leap this hurdle, you must prove that you are incapable of doing any work that you have performed in the last 15 years. The Social Security Administration will compare your current ability to work to the physical and mental demands of your easiest job when making its determination.
Step 5: Other work.
Can you perform other work that exists in significant numbers in the economy? This step considers your remaining work capacity, education, work experience, and age. The older you are, the easier it is to be found disabled.
The most important factor in qualifying for Social Security disability benefits
The five steps that Social Security Administration goes through to determine if you are eligible for benefits can be confusing. What is important for you take away from this brief introduction is this message:
If you feel you cannot work, you should (a) apply for disability and (b) appeal any denial.
We can help walk you through both (a) the filing of your application and, if your application is denied, (b) the process of appealing. We bring to the disability application and appeal process the Social Security disability knowledge and expertise we have developed from handling hundreds of claims for a wide variety of impairments:
|– Arthritis||– Lung impairment|
|– Chronic fatigue syndrome||– Lupus|
|– Complex regional pain syndrome||– Mental impairments|
|– Back injuries||– Parkinson’s Disease|
|– Depression||– Scleroderma|
|– Diabetes||– Seizures|
|– Fibromyalgia||– Stroke|
|– Heart problems||– And many more|
Whatever your impairment, we are happy to evaluate your Los Angeles County or Orange County claim without charge or obligation. To obtain our evaluation, complete the form to the right and we will respond promptly. Or you may contact our office:
Email our office
Lowenstein Disability Lawyers
Greater Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorneys
15315 Magnolia Blvd., Suite 402
Sherman Oaks, California 91403