My name is Scott Rubin. I'm an attorney and we practice Social Security law here at Rubin & Badame, Attorneys at Law, P.C.. We practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. People ask me all the time about Social Security Disability and how to get approved. Here are the basics:
You have not worked
First, we need to show that you have not worked at a substantial gainful level for over one year or that you're not expected to. And that for a non-blind person is $1,260 a month.
Secondly, we need to show that you have a severe impairment, which is defined as a physical or emotional impairment. This must be a problem that has caused more than just a minimal impact on your ability to work or to do work-related activities.
Blue Book requirements
Thirdly, we need to show that your physical or emotional impairment meets or equals the Blue Book listings published by Social Security. Social Security published a book for heart, liver, pulmonary problems, renal problems, mental health problems, back problems, and neck problems. And if your condition is so severe through objective evidence that it meets the Social Security Blue Book requirements, you are approved.
If you're not approved, we will go to step four: Can you return to any of the past relevant work you've done in the last 15 years? So we look at the work you've done in 15 years, which is categorized according to skill level and vocational level. And that's only the jobs over the last 15 years that you worked at for a certain duration and received a certain amount of remuneration.
The capacity for gainful employment
And then there is number five, based on your age, education and prior work experience. Do you retain or do you have the residual functional capacity, the physical capacity, and the emotional capacity to maintain substantially gainful employment? And are there a significant number of jobs that you can do?
What you should do
If we can establish number one through three, or number one, two, four, or five, you're approved. It's important however that you retain a Social Security Disability lawyer. The laws unfortunately are becoming more complex and it's more difficult to obtain approval.