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Scott D. Brown
John P. Lander
Kim R. Snitker
Travis M. Armbrust
Kaitlyn J. Ausborn
Brown, Kinsey,
Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C.

214 North Adams,
Mason City, Iowa 50401
Phone: (641) 423-6223
Fax: (641) 423-9995
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY - Frequently Asked Questions
I. General Information VI. Social Security Disability Benefits
II. Disability Eligibility  

A. Social Security Disability Programs


Filing for Social Security Disability


     1.  Definition of Disability

  A. When to File for Social Security Disability        2.  Disabled Widow's and Widower's benefits
  B. Where to File for Social Security Disability        3.  Disabled Adult Child Benefits
  C. How to File for Social Security Disability   B. Supplemental Security Income benefits

D. After the Claim is Filed

       1.  Personal Benefits
IV. The Decision Process
       2.  Supplemental Security Income Child's               Disability
V. Appeals
"Contact an Iowa Social Security disability lawyer representing clients in Northwood, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation."
Howard County Courthouse Cresco Iowa  

The Decision Process

Standards Used to Determine Eligibility

Social Security Administration field offices receive applications for disability benefits in their offices and begin the decision process. First, they will verify all non-medical eligibility requirements that include Social Security coverage information such as age, employment, and marital status. Secondly, that the person is legally disabled, supported by medical evidence.  They will ensure that these two primary concerns of eligibility are substantiated, and will, to an extent, help claimants get medical reports from their own medical sources when the claimants give SSA permission to do so.


This medical evidence generally comes from sources that have treated or evaluated the claimant for his or her condition. Once this is completed, the file will go to State Disability Determination Services (called DDS).

There is an initial process to determine disability. A step-by-step process is used by the SSA, involving five main questions. Each of these needs to be answered for eligibility before moving onto the next one. These questions are:

1.  Are you working?
If your 2006 earnings averaged more than $860 a month, your 2007 earnings averaged more than $900 a month, or if your 2008 earnings are over $940 per month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. These amounts are called "substantial gainful activity (SGA)" and change every year. SGA is different for blind individuals. If you earn less than these amounts, are not working, or are unable to work, you are qualified to go to the next question.

2. Is your condition "severe"?
Basic work-related activities must be hindered by your condition for your claim to be considered. The Social Security field office will find that you are not disabled if they are not. If your medical condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, go to question 3.

3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions for each of the major body systems. These are so severe, if you have one of these, it will automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA has to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you are disabled and that your are qualified for benefits. If it is not, they will then go to question 4.

4. Can you do the work you did previously?
The SSA must determine if your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as one on the list of medical conditions. They will then determine if the condition interferes with your ability to do the work you did within the past 15 years. If not, your claim will be denied. If it does, proceed to question 5.

5. Can you do any other type of work?
SSA reviews your history and determines if you are able to adjust to other work. Your medical condition, age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have are all taken under consideration. If it is not possible that you can adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. However, if you are able to adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.

The Social Security Website has additional details in regard to these questions and more. Processing your application is very detailed and complex. Qualified Social Security Disability lawyers are competent in assisting you in covering any contingencies that you are not able to foresee.

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If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa Social Security disability attorney, representing clients in Northwood, Iowa at the Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C.. Give us a call at (641) 423-6223 or email us at
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Mason City, Iowa Attorney practicing in Iowa primarily in Workers' Compensation & Personal Injury. Lawyers at the Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C. are dedicated to serve their clients in Iowa, including the cities of Mason City, Algona, Allison, Boone, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Clarion, Dakota City, Des Moines, Eldora, Forest City, Fort Dodge, Garner, Grundy Center, Hampton, Marshalltown, Mount Pleasant, Nevada, New Hampton, Northwood, Osage, Toledo, Vinton, Waterloo, Waverly, Webster City and West Union, and the communities that make up Cerro Gordo, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Butler, Chickasaw, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Howard, Humboldt, Kossuth, Linn, Marshall, Mitchell, Polk, Story, Tama, Webster, Winnebago, Worth, Wright counties.
© MMXIV Brown, Kinsey, Funkhouser & Lander, P.L.C. Email: Address: 214 North Adams, Mason City, Iowa 50401 Phone: (641) 423-6223
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