The five-step evaluation for SSD in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Social Security Disability

An applicant who applies for Social Security Disability in New Jersey has a decent chance of approval. That’s because New Jersey approves around 52 percent of its SSD claims. That’s a significant amount compared to the approval rates for most other states. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t make it easy to get disability benefits.

There is a five-step evaluation that determines if you’re eligible to apply for Social Security Disability. Passing the evaluation is the most important factor in your ability to receive SSD benefits.

Do you have gainful employment?

The first question is whether or not you have gainful employment. Gainful employment is full-time or part-time work done for pay. If your income exceeds the threshold set by the SSA, it’s unlikely that they’ll consider you disabled.

How severe is your disability?

If you don’t have gainful employment, you’ll move on to the second question in the SSD evaluation. And that is the question of does your disability limit your ability to work. Your disability is severe if it’s difficult to perform simple work-related activities. These activities include walking, sitting, standing or lifting items.

Is your disability recognized by the SSA?

The SSA must determine if your disability is on its list of disabilities. The list contains medical conditions that qualify a person for SSD benefits. If your exact disability isn’t listed, it must equal in severity some other condition on the list.

Can you perform work you’ve done in the past?

It’s possible your disability will not be on this list. In that case, the next question is whether or not you can perform the work done in the past. The SSA will review your work history as far back as 15 years. If you can perform work you’ve done in the past, you’re unlikely to get approved for SSD.

Can you perform other work?

The final question in the evaluation is whether or not you can perform a new type of work. If you can perform other work that’s available, the SSA will expect you to take that route. However, your education, age and work history are taken into account.

Passing the five-step evaluation

The SSA will determine if you’re eligible for SSD based on the evaluation. If you’re unhappy with the outcome, you can file an appeal for reconsideration. It’s not guaranteed, but you might get a favorable outcome following an appeal.

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