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Understand the Social Security Disability Process for West Virginia

Your Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

Unless a potential recipient of Social Security Disability is eligible for the Compassionate Allowance Program, the evaluation process to determine disability includes the following five questions from 20 CFR Subpart P § 404.1501:

  • Are you working?
  • Do you have a severe impairment?
  • Are your impairments eligible?
  • Are you able to return to your previous employment?
  • Are you able to work in any job field well-recognized within the national economy?

Are You Working?

According to regulations, anyone who is performing “substantial gainful activity,” is considered working. This includes employment that involves significantly productive mental duties and is intended for profit. Full-time, part-time, and less than part-time work is considered substantial.

Do You Have A Severe Impairment?

A non-severe impairment is considered one that is not detrimental to your physical or mental ability to complete basic work tasks, such as walking, standing, sitting, carrying, seeing, hearing, speaking, remembering of instructions, ability to use judgement, dealing with changes in routine, and other activities. If your functional capacity is diminished by your impairment, you may be eligible to claim Social Security Disability. However, unless your impairment is expected to result in death, it must have been present, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months.

Are Your Impairments Eligible?

In order to be eligible to file a claim for SSD, your impairment or impairments must exactly match the ones listed found in the Listing of Impairments. The medical signs, findings, and symptoms of the impairment of the claimant must medically equal its counterpart in this listing, and must be determined by a medical professional selected by the Social Security Administration.

Are You Able to Return to Your Previous Employment?

If you return to an occupation performed at the substantial gainful activity level within the last 15 years for three months or more, you are considered to have returned to your previous employment. You will not be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration if you are able to retain the capacity to perform work-related tasks as they are ordinarily done, even if the job is only part-time or less.

Are you able to work in any job field well-recognized within the national economy?

Depending on age, education, and work experience, a potential recipient of Social Security Disability benefits cannot perform any kind of substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy. The Medical-Vocational Guidelines are considered framework, or a structure for evaluation, used to determine if a certain occupation invalidates a claimant’s eligibility for SSD benefits. These guidelines evaluate age, education, work experience, and type of work to determine eligibility.