Virginia Employment Lawyer and Social Security disability Attorney

Areas of Practice

Initial Consultations

If you would like to discuss your employment or disability related concerns, call 804-440-6557 to schedule an initial consultation. You will meet directly with attorney D. Scott Gordon for an extended evaluation of your issues, not an inexperienced paralegal.

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Schedule Disability Consultation

Social Security Disability

How Do You Qualify as Disabled?

SSA first refers initial claims to a state disability determination service. It is important that you be able to identify each and every medical provider that has treated you for conditions relating to your impairment. They will request your medical records and in some cases refer you for a medical assessment examination. The purpose of the exam is to determine your residual functional capacity (“RFC”). However, the most important medical assessment comes from your treating physicians, who are your primary medical resource in any SSD application.

Under SSA guidelines, multiple factors go into the consideration of one’s disability, including their medical condition, age, education and work history. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have "a physical or mental impairment that is expected to keep you from doing any substantial work less than $1,4790 per month) for at least a year." In the majority of cases, the SSA applies a five-step evaluation process to decide whether you are disabled.

1. Are you working? You only can receive benefits if you are not substantially employed, which means that you average less that $1,470 per month.

2. Do you have a severe medical condition? Your medical condition must be significant enough that it impairs your ability to perform basic work activities. Minor or temporary injuries do not provide a basis for a SSA disability determination.

3. Does the SSA list your condition as a disabling conditions? Some conditions are already listed by the SSA as disabling, which in most cases means that you automatically qualify as disabled.

4. If you have a severe medical condition that is not listed by the SSA as a disabling condition, can you still perform your prior work position? If you can still perform your position, then you cannot receive benefits. If you cannot perform your prior position then you proceed to the final step 5, which is where most cases are argued on appeal.

5. Can you do any other type of work? Most contested SSA Disability cases revolve around this question - whether based upon your medical condition, age, education and training, you are reasonably able to transfer your skill to less strenuous work?

If you appeal your denial and proceed to a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") becomes responsible for deciding your claim. The ALJ works in a different office that Disability Determination Services and has no prior involvement in the earlier case decisions.