The Decision Process

Standards Used to Determine Eligibility

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

1.  Are you working?
If your 2017 earnings average more than $1170 a month, generally you cannot be considered disabled. If you earn less than this, 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 severe. 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. If your condition is on this list, and it results in severe limitations, you may be disabled. If your condition is not on the list, DSS has to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, they will find that you are disabled and that you are qualified for benefits. If it is not, they will then go to question 4.

Contact an Iowa Social Security disability lawyer representing clients in Northwood, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.

4. Can you do the work you did previously?
DSS 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 were accustomed to. If not, your claim will be denied. If it does, proceed to question 5.

5. Can you do any other type of work?
DSS reviews your history and if you cannot do the work you did in the past, it will seek to find 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 for you to adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. However, if you are 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, avoiding unnecessary delays in approving your claim.

Social Security Disability Benefits
You may be able to receive help if you have a disability that prevents you from working through the Social Security Administration by way of Social Security Disability. Different types of disability benefits are available, depending on your qualifications. The entire process may be very complex and time consuming. There are normally a multitude of questions that arise when seeking Social Security Disability benefits. Experienced Social Security Disability lawyers are extremely valuable to help you through all levels of the qualification process.


Understanding how the government makes its decisions when you file for Social Security Disability benefits is important. Presenting your application as completely as possible is not an easy task. Due to the high rate of initially denied claims, your rights regarding the appeals process are also of extreme importance. Qualified Social Security Benefit attorneys, experienced in your type of claim, will be able to answer your questions and assist you in all levels of the complex qualification process

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.