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What Determines Disability?

When Results Matter Most, Hire a Heavyweight
Person in a wheel chair and other pedestrians crossing a street

If you have been unable to work for a year or more due to an illness or injury, you may wonder if you qualify for disability. The definition of disability can be quite vague, but don’t worry, the Lanier Law Group, P.A. is here to help you better understand the intricacies of disability.

SSA Determination

The SSA defines disability as an illness or injury that is expected to last 12 months or until your death. Your disability must be severe and diagnosed by a medical professional. A disability is severe if it creates limitations in your ability to do functional requirements like walk or stand. Alternatively, a disability may affect your mental abilities like concentrating or understanding information. These limitations will ultimately speak to whether you can do work that you previously did before becoming disabled or adjust to other types of work.

There are some disabilities that are so severe they meet a statutory definition of disability. These disabilities are in what is called the SSA Listings for Adults and Children. A disability that meets a listing must meet the specific requirements detailed for that listing level impairment or have a combination of disabilities that would functionally equal the listing.

When the SSA is determining the severity of a disability, they will first look to the medical records associated with your claim. Additionally, they will consider how physically or mentally strenuous your past work was, your education, and your current age. Finally, the SSA will also consider other evidence such as third party statements from friends, family members, coworkers, or supervisors.

When the SSA finds that a person is disabled they will then assign a designation based on the likelihood of medical improvement. Those designations are Medical Improvement Expected (MIE), Medical Improvement Possible (MIP), or Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE). The SSA will conduct continuing disability reviews from time to time to ensure that a person previously approved for disability remains disabled. These designations will determine how frequently those reviews may occur.

We Can Help

If you think you may be able to qualify for disability, you should contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney to discuss your case. Our attorneys at Lanier Law Group, P.A. can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case to the SSA. To contact our legal office, call us at (855) 757-4204 or fill out a consultation request form on our website.