When an illness puts you out of work, you will need financial help. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has several programs for people unable to work, and those who have a good past history of working may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Not all medical and mental conditions are recognized by the SSA for coverage, however. Read on to find out how the SSA handles cases where the disability determination goes through an additional step.
The Medical-Vocational Allowance
If you are unable to show that your illness qualifies based on the list of allowable conditions, the SSA offers applicants an opportunity to have their condition investigated further. After all, even if your illness doesn't appear on the list, you might still be unable to work at your job and you still deserve benefits. There are several steps in the medical vocational allowance process and the actual determination is quite complex. What follows is a summary of the process.
Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC)
The Disability Determination Services (DDS) prepares an assessment known as the residual functioning capacity. This measurement takes a look at exertion levels. You are assessed on your ability to work at your most recent job based on how long you can stand, how far you can walk, what you might be able to carry while walking, etc. At the end of the assessment, you will have an evaluation based on how able you are to perform sedentary, light, or medium work.
The second step of the RFC process looks at your ability to return to your most recent job based on the findings of the assessment. If your past job involved doing work at a medium level and you are only capable of doing work at the light level (as determined by the RFC), you will move to the final step in the process.
The last step of the RFC is your ability to do other work and this is where many claimants run into trouble. The DDS uses vocational information and experts to determine whether or not there is other work available for you based on your RFC findings. They look at your age, education level, and work experience in addition to the RFC assessment. If they deny you based on this step, it might be due to a faulty evaluation of your skills, the jobs available in your local area, and more.
The Appeals Hearing
Many people who go through the medical-vocational allowance process get denied. That is why having an attorney to represent you at your appeal hearing is so important. Your attorney can be ready to dispute the findings of the RFC and the vocational experts so that your claim can be approved. Speak to a social security disability attorney today.