Am I Disabled?

Social Security Administration must determine that you have a physical or mental impairment which is the result of a psychological or physical condition that will not allow you to perform any “substantial gainful activity” for the established timelines.

This condition must be determined by medical tests, symptoms and lab results. All medical records must support the claim of disability. A doctor’s statement does not verify a condition with out the medical records as evidence. Disability determination in Louisiana is made through the local Social Security field offices called Disability Determinations Services (DDS).

In order to make the disability determination the DDS office will review the following questions:

  1. Is the individual able to perform “substantial gainful activity”. In 2008, substantial gainful activity is making more then $940.00 per month ($1,570 for a Social Security Blindness disability)? If an individual is able to work and earn more then $940.00 per month, the Social Security Administration will not consider them disabled.
  2. If the applicant is not employed, the SSA will determine if they could be retrained to perform any job available in the national economy. The SSA will consider the applicant’s educational level, job experience, age, and other personal factors to determine if they could gain other employment.
  3. How severe is the applicant’s condition? The Disability of Determination Services (DDS) team which consists of doctors and psychologists, will compare the applicant’s condition to other conditions on their “list of impairments” to determine if it is as severe as the listed conditions and if the applicant is completely disabled. This determination will be made by reviewing their medical records and lab results, and if necessary, sending them for additional medical evaluations.
  4. If after the DDS completes their review they determine the applicant’s condition is too severe to work or to be retrained for new employment, they will approve them for Social Security Disability benefits.