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Must you be completely disabled in order to receive benefits?

Before the Social Security Administration will grant an individual's claim for Social Security Disability benefits, it must be satisfied that the individual meets certain federal requirements. The extent of an individual's medical condition, of course, is paramount, which is why the SSA has created a listing of qualify medical conditions. Yet, not every injury or illness is laid out in the listing. Does this mean that an individual who suffers extensive pain and suffering is unable from successfully claiming SSD benefits?

Not exactly. When an individual is in severe pain and debilitated, he or she can still seek disability benefits. In these instances, the SSA will then look at the individual's "residual functional capacity." In other words, the SSA will assess all evidence presented to it to determine if an individual can still perform some functions despite their symptoms.

When assessing how a medical condition affects one's ability to work, many factors are utilized. For example, the SSA will assess whether an individual is physically able to perform basic work duties such as standing and lifting, as well postural activities like reaching using one's fingers, kneeling, and climbing steps and ladders. But the assessment doesn't end there. The SSA will look to see if an individual maintain his or her concentration, tolerate a work environment, and properly understand and carry out work instructions.

Disabled individuals who think they are unable to work may be devastated when the SSA denies their disability claim. To prevent this from happening, or to appeal such a determination, these individuals may want to take their case to an experienced attorney. An experienced legal professional may be able to help these individuals present their claim in a way satisfy federal requirements.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Information We Need About Your Work And Education," accessed on Jan. 22, 2017

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