Waiting to hear back about whether or not you were approved for disability benefits can be daunting. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), only about 36% of claims are approved during the initial application period – this means more than half of applications will be denied the first time around.
It’s best not to get too discouraged, though! The further you proceed with your appeals process, the more likely you are to be approved for benefits. There are a lot of factors at play in the decision-making, so you’ll want to be sure you’re as prepared as possible with well-organized evidence and information to back up your case.
While it’s never a guarantee, below are 4 likely signs that you will be approved for disability benefits:
1. Your Medical Condition is Listed in the SSA’s Blue Book
While this is not a guarantee, having your medical condition listed in the SSA’s “Blue Book” of health conditions can help your case substantially.
The Blue Book lists conditions and impairments that are considered disabling enough to qualify for benefits; this serves as a general guide for the approvals process. Each case is still reviewed individually whether or not the condition is listed because of individuals’ unique and varying tolerances to pain, medical symptoms and abilities.
2. You’re Able to Provide Substantial Medical Evidence
Having sufficient medical evidence is one of the most important factors in a disability benefits claim because it serves as the basis for determining how disabled a person truly is. If your medical evidence doesn’t prove your disability, it’s very likely that your case will be denied.
This part of the process is where hiring a disability lawyer proves to be extremely helpful, as they are familiar with what evidence the SSA will want to receive and can advise you on what to request from your doctors. While it may seem reasonable to submit all your medical records, it will actually benefit you more to send only the most relevant records to move your case forward.
3. Your Income is Less Than a Certain Amount
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is a way for the SSA to measure the day-to-day activities you engage in and how much work you are capable of, determining whether or not you get approved for disabilities.
If you have a disability but are able to do work that brings in a certain amount of income, then that is typically considered substantial gainful activity and you will be denied benefits. According to the SSA, the monthly SGA amount in 2021 is $1,310 for non-blind individuals and $2,190 for blind individuals.
The main exception to this rule is if you receive special accommodations that amount to working in a sheltered work environment. Whether a particular job qualifies as sheltered work is determined on a case-by-case basis.
4. You’re Unable to Perform Any Type of Work That Exists in the National Economy
It must be determined that you are unable to work, not just at your current job but your prior jobs, as well. The SSA will consider your age, education, and prior work experience/history to see if there is any other type of work you could perform with your disability. If they do determine there is work you could feasibly do, your application will be denied. If you are found incapable of performing any work for which you are qualified, the SSA will likely see this as a reason to provide disability benefits.
Contact the Attorneys at Woodruff & Mathis
Just because there are likely signs that you will be approved for disability doesn’t mean it is always a clear path to receiving benefits. Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a long and complicated process, but an experienced disability attorney can help you through every step of the way. Contact the team at Woodruff & Mathis today to start the process!