How the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Determines Disability
Your Augusta disability attorney wants you to know and understand the basics concerning the process of how the ALJ determines a claimant’s disability. Common sense is not always used in this technical and complicated process. For instance, it is commonly believed that a disability determination will be obtained by anyone who is unable to work due to medical problems. Your Augusta disability attorney will tell you that in reality, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), inability to work does not prove anything.
A determination of disability is quite distant from the “real world,” and has little bearing on the fact that your medical difficulties prevent employers from hiring you. The SSA does not look at whether or not you would be hired; it looks at whether or not you have the ability to do work. Therefore, you may need to show that you are incapable of performing a job for which you would never realistically be hired.
What You and Your Attorney Need to Prove
Sometimes the ALJ will determine that you are disabled based on your medical condition alone. Usually however, your Augusta disability attorney must prove two things:
- You are incapable of doing any job you have performed in the last 15 years due to medical impairments; and
- Taking into account your education, age and employment experience, you are not able to perform many different jobs.
Therefore, you need to look back over the last 15 years and choose the easiest job you had. You must demonstrate that you are no longer able to perform that job, even if the company or job no longer is in business or exists—or, if it does exist, you must prove that you would never be hired for it again.
Proving that you cannot perform many other jobs due to your education, age and employment experience proves to be more complicated. Often, it boils down to demonstratingthat you are unable to perform jobs that you would never be hired for in the real world.
The term “totally and permanently disabled” is not applicable to SSD and SSI cases. The SSA only requires that you be disabled for 12 months and that your disability prevents you from performing jobs that exist in significant numbers nationally. It does not require that you beunable to perform any work. It is rare that a disability claimant is not able to perform any work at all.