If you submit an application for Social Security Disability benefits, understanding the review process helps you evaluate how to respond to the application decision. The review process happens in stages and the application must pass the current stage to continue through the process. Otherwise, you receive a denial.
Understand the steps in the review process to determine what you should review if you receive a denial.
Are you gainfully employed?
The first stage of the application review involves assessing your gainful employment. Referred to by the Social Security Administration as Substantial Gainful Activity, earnings over a specific limit result in application denial.
How severe is your condition?
The second stage assesses the severity of your condition and its impairment in your daily life. Medical evidence must clearly show that your impairment interferes with your ability to work and medical professionals do not anticipate recovery within a year.
Does your condition appear on the disability list?
The Social Security Administration publishes a list of qualifying conditions for disability. If your diagnosis appears on the list or relates to a condition on the list, your application progresses to the next stage.
Can you return to work?
Finally, the review considers whether you can return to work at your prior job, even if it means having accommodations. If not, is there another position that your education and experience qualify you for? If not, your application may receive approval.
Understanding the application review process makes it easier to navigate and address concerns if you receive a denial.