Even if your own doctor has told you that he or she doesn’t think you could work and that you are disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) probably defines “disabled” differently. Unfortunately, it’s Uncle Sam’s definition that matters when it comes to receiving disability benefits in Arkansas.
Very often your doctor defines “disabled” as you not being able to do the job you currently have. You may have been told by your doctor that you can’t return to work because of your medical condition. But, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t other work you could do.
The Social Security Administration has a different definition of the word “disabled.”
When SSA says you must be “disabled” to get benefits, they mean you must have one or more severe medical impairments that BOTH:
- Prevent you from doing the work you used to do.
- Prevent you from doing any other type of work.
This second point is a key difference between your doctor’s opinion and the SSA’s rulings. For example, your doctor and the SSA may agree that you can no longer do heavy factory work. However, the SSA may say that you are still medically able to do office work. However, it gets much more complicated if you are over the age of 50. In this case, you should consult with an Arkansas Disability Lawyer BEFORE YOU APPLY (or as soon as possible after a denial)!
You can be denied benefits because the SSA believes you can still do some type of work. Whether or not you will be denied depends upon your physical and mental abilities, your work over the past 15 years, your age, and your education.
While your doctor’s medical opinion is taken into consideration, it is not the doctor’s decision as to whether you receive disability benefits.
Even if a doctor submits a letter to the SSA that says, “I believe Mr. X is permanently and totally disabled and can’t work any job.” it is not going to determine if you win your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
The decision on whether you are disabled or not is made either by a Social Security claims examiner and if you are denied at the application and reconsideration level then the decision is made by an Administrative Law Judge at a hearing.
Don’t lose hope! Most Arkansas disability applications and reconsiderations are denied.
More than 60% of initial applications for disability benefits are denied, so don’t be discouraged if your claim is denied. Remember, just because the examiner did not agree you were disabled doesn’t mean that you can’t qualify for and receive benefits. It only means the evidence in your initial application was not present for the examiner to rule that you are disabled.
Immediately after receiving your initial denial, you should search for experienced SSA Disability Attorneys in Arkansas.
If you live in northwest Arkansas and your Social Security application or reconsideration was denied, call our office today at (870) 741-8100. We help people through this process every day and want to make sure that the government views your case fairly.