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Social Security Disability

Posted by Margaret Donohue on May 15, 2015 at 7:20 AM

I provide objective evaluations for the State of California for people who have applied for Social Security DIsability.  These evaluations are referred to as Consultative Evaluations.  I provide the same kind of limited evaluation privately at my office in Glendale, CA.  The only difference between the evaluations I do in my private practice than the evaluations I do for the State of California, is that I'll help someone ensure they have provided an adequate history.  There's no difference in the reports, the psychological testing, or my role other than that.


There are several misconcentualization about Social Security Disability.  The first is that everyone is entitled to get it.  Not true.  

Social Security Disability is available to people:

  1. Who have been employed with sufficient employment credits within the past 10 years, were incarcerated and out of the labor market,  or were never employed because they were supported by someone else-housewife, domestic partner, dependent child that's now an adult.  
  2. It's also available to children who are not able to be in a regular classroom due to a severely disabling condition or collection of conditions and whose family meets income limitations.  
  3. Adults under category 1 above must also be no longer able to do simple work.
  4. Adults under category 1 above must be expected to be disabled for 12 months or longer.

Most people think that it's for people who are not able to do their usual and customary job.  Not true.  Private disability insurance is what will cover someone for the inability to perform their usual and customary job.  Social Security Disability covers any job in the labor market.  Walmart Greeter, gas station attendant, person who bags groceries at a supermarket, these are all examples of relatively simple work.  The fact that your prior employment was as a Wallstreet broker, rocket scientist, teacher, physician, soldier, or ran a corporation ill only make it lmore likely that you will be able to find some job you could theoretically do and thus would NOT qualify for Social Security Disability but qualify for private disability.  

So if you are currently relatively healthy, get private disability insurance to ensure that when you become disabled that source of income is also possible.

Disability often happens suddenly.  Car accident, sudden onset of disease, heart attack, stroke are all events that people can become disabled by.  There's a rush of medical treatment and the hope of complete recovery.  Most private disability policies have a waiting period of 6 months or more before benefits kick in.  It's important to notify a disability company as soon as possible that you are no longer able to perform your usual and customary job.  If you are no longer able to perform ANY job, then it's time to apply for Social Security Disability.  Social security should be applied for the moment someone realizes that they are no longer able to perform simple work.  The process of applying for Social Security Disability is long and may take years to be approved.  The application process starts the clock and ensures that the less than ten years post employment window is not missed.

When I evaluate individuals for Social Security Disbility, I presume they are disabled.  I don't need proof of their disability.  I'm not evaluating people to show they are disabled.  I'm evaluating them to be able to describe to an Administrative Law Judge working for Social Security and the State of California, the nature of functional limitations and what impeeds their ability to perform simple work.  I'm a disabled person.  I've been disabled for decades.  I run a company. I teach. I do art work.  I can't walk long distances.  I can't carry heavy items.  I have a combination of physical limitations and illnesses that allow me to have a handicapped placard.  I do not qualify for Social Security Disability nor for private disability insurance.  I can do my usual and customary job.  I can certainly do simple work.  So being disabled is NOT the criteria for getting Social Security Disability.  What's needed is the documentation of the functional limitations that prevent someone from either functioning in a regular classroom, or from performing simple work.

If you need an evaluation, feel free to contact our office.

Categories: General Psychology, Ethics

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