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How does the SSA evaluate a Michigander's inability to work?

One important consideration in the determination of Social Security disability benefits is whether a person is able to work. Before awarding benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will need information about the type of work that a Michigan resident did in the past and whether he or she is still able to do such work. An inability to work is at the center of the evaluation for disability benefits, as a person is not considered disabled unless he or she cannot do the work he or she did in the past and cannot adjust to other work.

To determine whether a person is capable of doing the work he or she did in the past, the SSA will consider the specific demands of a person's work and evaluate whether a person's current abilities allow him or her to continue to do such work. The SSA considers relevant past work experience, which typically involves work in the previous 15 years that a person did for long enough to learn the type of work effectively. Additionally, to be relevant, the work must have involved physical or mental activities either done, or intended to be, for profit.

Once the SSA determines past work is relevant, it will compare a person's current ability to work with their past work and how the work is done nationally. Following this comparison, for which the agency will rely on a complete description of a person's past work, the SSA will make a determination regarding a person's current ability to work. The SSA relies on extensive information about a person's past working experience to make a determination regarding disability. The SSA requires information about the main tasks a person performed, a person's main job responsibilities, the number of hours a person worked, rate of pay received, as well as extensive additional information.

These question can often become quite complex. If you have questions regarding your work experience and whether you may qualify for SSD benefits, or the application process for disability benefits, you may find that an attorney can provide valuable assistance.

Source: Social Security Administration, "How We Decide If You Are Disabled," accessed Feb. 5, 2016

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