Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

IMPORTANT: The First Step in Every Social Security Disability Case

by | Jul 29, 2023 | SSD - Social Security Disability |

The definition of disability is the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medical determinable physical and/or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which ahs lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months (The Social Security Act). Judges deciding disability cases must follow a strict 5 step sequential evaluation to determine whether an individual is disabled or not. In this blog post we will be focusing solely on the first step. The first step is essential because if the individual does not meet the criteria of step 1, then they will be found NOT disabled and unable to move forward in their case. The first step considers the individuals work activity (if any). Prior to the date of the hearing, an individual must have at least a consecutive 12 month duration of either not working or earning under substantial gainful activity (SGA). The substantial gainful employment amount changes every year and is set out by Social Security. In the year 2023 substantial gainful employment is set at $1,470 gross per month for non-blind individuals and $2,260 gross per month for blind individuals. It is crucial to remember that earnings are gross and not net. While this is the basic idea of the 1st step, it is important to note there are some exceptions and nuances including closed periods, trial work periods, and unsuccessful work attempts. Therefore, working with an experienced attorney is helpful to ensure there are no issues with meeting step 1 in your disability case.



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