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What should the SSA use to evaluate disability claims?

Approximately 10.4 million people in the United States were receiving disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program as of December 2017.

If you decide to apply for disability benefits, you should know that the Social Security Administration will have to evaluate your inability to work.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently published a report detailing what is necessary to assess disability applicants' functional abilities. Researchers found that the SSA needs to use various sources to determine an applicant's physical and mental abilities.

Some of the most common sources used to evaluate an applicant's ability to work include health records, standardized reports from the applicant and health care providers, and functional assessments. Ideally, different types of tests should be administered multiple times to get a full picture of an applicant's disability.

However, there are still many challenges evaluators may face when trying to an accurate, thorough picture of the applicant's disability.

For instance, evaluators will have to consider that even if an applicant can perform a work-related task at the time of an assessment, they may not be able to perform the task repeatedly over the course of a standard work week.

Additionally, evaluators should look at side effects from medication or treatment, in addition to the applicant's illness or injury and determine whether they also affect a person's capacity to work.

Evaluators should also be aware that conducting a test in an environment that is different from the applicant's actual work environment can affect the results of the test. It can be much harder to work under chaotic, real workplace conditions than it is to work in a quiet testing area.

As you are applying for SSDI benefits, you should present the best case possible to the SSA. A Fayetteville, Georgia, attorney with experience in handling these claims can help you with every step of the process.

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