By Max Blaser, Attorney at Law
The standard of disability is not one that is well known to the general public. As Social Security disability lawyers in Springfield, MO, we know that many people think that getting on disability is easy, and that people are constantly abusing the system. However, the truth is, in our experience, that the opposite is true. Obtaining disability benefits has become increasingly difficult in the past few years, and we see many more deserving individuals denied than non-deserving individuals approved. This blog is intended to help clear up misconceptions concerning the disability standard.
In order to be considered disabled the individual must prove through the evidence of record (the majority of which is medical) that they are unable to work any job in the national economy for forty hours per week, or what is considered full-time per the Social Security standard of substantial gainful activity ($1,040 per month for 2013). An individual does not need to be bedridden in order to qualify, and they may still work as long as they do not exceed certain income thresholds. This allows individuals who are disabled to work part-time jobs to help supplement their disability payments (which can be very low) and to help promote a return to the workforce for those who think that they are able.
I mentioned above that disability must be proved through medical evidence. Disability applicants go through extensive medical treatment for their impairments and take multitudes of medications. Furthermore, many have had multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and pain injections. In fact, an individual will not be considered disabled unless they cannot work full-time even with the help of medications and treatment. Moreover, these medical records generally contain years of treatment, as it can take months and even years to get to a hearing. In addition, most disability cases also require the opinion of a doctor stating disabling limitations before they will be approved. All of these factors make certain that disability benefits are not simply just handed out to any applicant.
In summation, individuals who have been approved for disability benefits have been through an arduous process in proving their inability to work. Those in the media and public who call for more stringent standards should think twice before doing so. Everyone, at any time, is only one unfortunate event from being at the mercy of the Social Security Disability system.
If you have any questions for Social Security disability lawyers in Springfield, MO or any of our other 18 offices across Missouri, Kansas and Illinois please contact us for a free consultation.