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:

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

Are You Working?

According to regulations, Social Security considers anyone who is performing “substantial gainful activity” as working. The definition includes employment intended for profit that involves significantly productive mental duties. Social Security considers full-time, part-time, and less than part-time work as substantial.

Have a Severe Impairment?

Social Security considers a non-severe impairment as 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 judgment, dealing with changes in routine, and other activities. If impairment diminishes your functional capacity, you may be eligible to claim Social Security Disability. However, unless your impairment is expected to result in death, the impairment 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 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 a medical professional selected by the Social Security Administration must determine the impairment.

Returning To 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, Social Security considers you have returned to your previous employment. Social Security will not consider you disabled if you are able to perform work-related tasks as jobs are ordinarily done, even if the job is only part-time or less.

Guidelines for Working
and SSA Benefits

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. Social Security considers the Medical-Vocational Guidelines as 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.

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