Who makes the decisions about disability benefits? - III

In today's post, we'll conclude our ongoing discussion regarding what officials are responsible for making the decision as to whether a person is disabled and what they take into consideration when making this decision.

It's our sincere hope that these last few posts have helped shed some much-needed light on a process that can see mysterious and even a bit intimidating to the average person.

What's the next step after the DDS finds my condition "significantly limits" my work activities?

If the officials with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services' Division for Disability Determination Services find your condition to be severe, they will proceed to determine whether your medical condition is on the List of Impairments.

What is the List of Impairments?

The List of Impairments is essentially made up of medical conditions considered to be so severe that anyone suffering from them is automatically ruled eligible for disability benefits.

Am I out of luck if my condition isn't on the List of Impairments?

Not necessarily. DDS officials will then look to determine whether your medical condition is as severe as one of the listed impairments. If so, you will be found disabled.

What happens if my condition is not determined to be as severe as any of the listed impairments?

DDS officials will then examine whether your condition prevents you from performing your job as you once did. If it does, you will be found disabled and their inquiry will continue and, if it doesn't, DDS will find that you are not disabled and the process will end.

Are there any more considerations?

In concluding its examination, DDS officials will look at your age, skill set, education, prior work experience and condition to determine if you could perform another type of work. As you can probably guess by now, if it finds that you can perform other work, you won't be found disabled and ruled ineligible for benefits, while if it finds you cannot perform other work, you will be found disabled and eligible for benefits.

If you have questions about the process of securing Social Security disability benefits or recently saw your benefits application denied, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: The Social Security Administration, "Disability benefits," Accessed Dec. 4, 2014