Social Security is a federal program, with national guidelines on how qualified workers may claim disability benefits due to permanent or temporary work-preventing illness and injury. Qualifications for disability funds are universal, while each state has its own procedures for verifying claims.
You applied for Social Security Disability (SSD)
A very important part of a disability determination in the Social Security Disability Insurance program is Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). This large dictionary was a compilation of job descriptions and what each job entails. It is used for a disability determination, as it is one of the tools used by SSA to decide if an applicant is able to do any other type of work given their impairments or limitations.
Healthcare is always a personal experience. You may read of the experience of others, but it is never quite the same thing, as when you experience yourself. For some medical conditions, like heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer's, you can imagine the stress and the fear that someone else may feel after being diagnosed, but nothing can fully prepare you to deal with it when it becomes all too real.
One of the reasons that many people look to an attorney for help in applying for Social Security Disability benefits is that the language and terminology of the disability process are not only complex but also confusing. You may read a question and think that you understand the question and how to answer it, only to find out later that your answer is incorrect and that you need to change it in order to be accurate.
If you ask anyone who has successfully obtained Social Security Disability benefits, they will likely tell you that it is definitely not like unemployment. The process of applying for benefits and then, if necessary, appealing the initial denial, waiting for a hearing, and eventually being approved is substantially more demanding and difficult.
Disability claims for Social Security Disability are complex. This is due to many factors, but especially because the standard that SSA uses is fluid. There is no single factor, such as a medical condition or your work experience that is determinative. The test for disability is the inability to engage in "substantial gainful activity" and that that condition has lasted at least 12 months or is terminal.
The Washington Post published a story recently that examined a family in Alabama and highlighted the growth of Social Security Disability recipients in rural counties across America. They included a map that shows rural southeastern Missouri also has concentrations of SSD beneficiaries.
The current administration's budget director commented over the weekend that Social Security Disability is a "very wasteful program," that it is "the fastest growing" and that the disability component is not something most people think of when they think of Social Security. That SSD is characterized as "very" wasteful is usually the cue to make an argument that the program needs "reform" or, as he put, "fixed."