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No Rest (or Social Security) for the Weary

Five Step Evaluation for Social Security

You may be confused by the world of Social Security disability benefits and how disabilities are determined by various government facets. Luckily, a Macomb County Social Security attorney can help you work through your confusion.

Who evaluates Social Security benefits?

  • Administrative law judges (ALJs) and state agencies assess Social Security disability benefits.
  • However, they define the term ‘disabled’ in different ways.

How do state agencies determine who qualifies as disabled?

  • Medical evidence is most heavily reviewed at the state level.
  • Basically, state agencies use the Listing of Impairments to analyze the medical profile of a potentially disabled person.
  • If the state perceives that a candidate does not have an impairment recorded in the Listing of Impairments, then that candidate will probably not successfully qualify for benefits (although a Macomb County Social Security attorney can challenge the validity of this ruling).
  • Afterwards, analysts usually apply mathematical formulas to determine a person’s ability to function with specific medical conditions.
  • Sometimes age plays a factor in acceptance or denial as well; the state may be more willing to consider those over age 50 disabled.

How do ALJs determine who qualifies as disabled?

  • Administrative law judges take more than just medical records into account when determining disabilities.
  • They tend to rate the severity of a candidate’s disabilities and overall level of ability.
  • Administrative law judges often weigh the age of an applicant less heavily than the state board.

What are a typical applicant’s chances of receiving benefits?

  • A study was formed to determine the candidate disability rates of state agencies and administrative law judges.
  • The study found that during the study period, administrative law judges claimed that 75% of back injury applicants qualified as disabled while only 11% of those claimants were considered disabled by the state board.
  • Of those same applicants, those under 50 years of age were eventually granted Social Security disability benefits by ALJs approximately 68% of the time, while that determination was much rarer for state agencies—only 2% of the time.

Discouraged, weary, and victimized. These words most likely describe your feelings if you are struggling to receive benefits from the government. There’s only one thing you need to know: you can choose to change your Social Security situation. Contact Macomb County Social Security attorneys, J.B. Bieske and Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law, now at (800) 331-3530.


J.B. Bieske & Jennifer Alfonsi, Attorneys at Law

19991 Hall Road, Suite 202
Macomb, MI 48044
Phone: 586-977-8100
Fax: 586-977-8444

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