The Top 5 Questions the Social Security Administration Looks at When Determining if Someone is Disabled

February 20th, 2018 Social Security Administration

When applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) many get overwhelmed by the complexity of the paperwork and the time it takes to wade through it. Millions of Americans apply for disability benefits each year and many get denied the first time around.

Most ask the question, “How does the Social Security Administration decide If I am disabled?”

 The SSD Administration uses a step-by-step process including these five questions when deciding if someone is disabled:

  1. Are you working? If you are working and averaging more than what Social Security deems to be substantial gainful activity (for 2018 this amount is $1,180 per month for non-blind individuals and $1,970 for those who are blind), you usually will not be considered disabled. If you are not working, or your earnings fall below substantial income, then the administration will send your application to the Disability Determination Services office to review your condition(s) under the criteria below.
  2. Is your condition “severe”? In order for your condition to be considered severe it must interfere with basic work-related activities. If the administration finds that your conditions are severe, then they will move to the next step to evaluate your condition(s).
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? The SS Administration keeps an updated list of medical conditions that are considered severe, often qualifying you as disabled. If your condition is not listed or does not qualify under the established criteria, the administration will then decide if your condition is of equal severity to a medical condition listed. If your condition(s) neither meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments, the evaluation continues to the next step.
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? The SS administration looks at the work you were doing over the last 15 years, and if your medical condition interferes with your ability to continue doing this type of work.
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you are unable to do your previous work the SS administration will look to see if you are able to adjust to another work type.

To learn more about the top 5 questions click here.

If you are disabled and unable to work, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan for a free confidential consultation. We’ll let you know if we can help you get a monthly check and help you determine if any money or assets you receive could impact your eligibility for disability benefits.

Disability Attorneys of Michigan works hard every day helping the disabled of Michigan seek the disability benefits they need. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental or cognitive impairment call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-949- 2900.

Let Michigan’s leading social security disability law firm help you get the benefits you deserve.

 Disability Attorneys of Michigan, Compassionate Excellence.



This year I was awarded Social Security Disability due to the efforts of primo attorney, Frank G. Cusmano who is very versed in this area of practice. He was very patient and supportive of my case and was always available to answer questions and explain how the process works. I have recommended others to him and I will continue to do so. Frank was able to get me my award on the first try, which doesn’t always happen. I will be eternally grateful for his compassion in my case. Thank you for getting back to me!


- Susan