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Eligibility factors for Social Security disability benefits


An injury may leave you wondering how you will support yourself and your loved ones in Virginia. The Social Security Administration has a process for deciding if you qualify for disability benefits, and we at the law firm of Lawrence, Smith & Gardner, have an in-depth understanding of the information needed for an approval.

According to the SSA, the agency will evaluate your ability to perform the duties of your former employment. After all, even if you do not qualify based on the list of impairments provided, your condition may keep you from returning to your job. Factors such as fatigue could keep you from performing physical tasks, for example, or mental conditions could make it impossible for you to work independently or maintain focus. 

If you only recently began the job that you had been doing right before your injury, it may not qualify as relevant past work. It must be a job that you were proficient at, that you performed within the previous 15 years before the case is evaluated and that required you to perform mental or physical tasks that were productive and significant. However, if you cannot perform the duties to the level that you did before, but you are still able to do the job at a level that is considered typical for the national economy, your disability benefits will probably be denied.

When the SSA has determined that you cannot do your previous job, you will have to provide information about your education to see if you can get a job doing something else. This does not just mean courses taken through a college or vocational school, although these are part of the consideration. Any special job training that you have taken may contribute to your qualifications for other employment. More information about factors that affect applications and denials is available on our webpage.

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