Your hearing is your best chance to get approved for disability benefits. Only about 30% of applicants are approved at the initial level. But most people we help get approved.

We offer a free consultation with an expert Social Security attorney. Simply complete the online form or call the number below. Get your Social Security Disability questions answered.

We are advocates for the disabled. We work hard to get your hearing quickly and win your benefits. Ask how a dire needs request or on-the-record decision could speed your case along.

Prepare For Your Hearing

We know that you would rather work than be on Social Security Disability–but you don’t have that choice. Our Social Security attorneys for Boise and surrounding areas are here to help you make the best of the situation you are in–to quickly get you the benefits you have earned and so desperately need.

Why Choose Us?

  • Expedited Applications
  • You Know You Have An Attorney
  • Our Disability Lawyers are Experts
  • We Don`t Let The Government Intimidate You
  • We don’t get paid unless you win

Whether you need help getting your disability case back on track after being denied, or you want to make sure you do things right from the very start, you can get a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Social Security attorneys. An expert Social Security lawyer will review your case with you and help you to find the best path forward for you. Please complete the form to the right and someone will contact you, or you many simply call the number listed.

How a Social Security Attorney Can Help

Even if it seems you should qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits, initial claims are often denied. Don’t lose hope—We can help you get the benefits you deserve. The claims process can be daunting, and we will work hard to assist you. With representation like we provide, your chances of receiving benefits increase–up to 85% at the hearing level depending on the specifics of your case. And our assistance will help you through the often confusing and frustrating paperwork and claims process.  And remember, even if your claim has already been denied, we will work to have your claim reconsidered.

Am I Disabled?

Social Security Attorneys for Boise, ID - Am I Disabled? If you would like to know if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, contact our Social Security Attorneys for Boise, Idaho, serving Nampa, Idaho, Twin Falls, Idaho, Pocatello, Idaho, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. Social Security Attorneys spend all day deciding if someone is disabled or not, so you should consult with one about your specific circumstances.  Simply complete the form on the right or all the listed number.

Who May Qualify For Disability Benefits? 

The following may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits:

  • Insured individuals who apply for disability benefits or for a period of disability;
  • Widow(er)s and Children who qualify because of relationship to an insured worker;
  • Adults who qualify and apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments;
  • Children under age 18 who qualify and apply for SSI disability payments.

What is a Disability?

Under the Social Security Administration (SSA) rules, a disability is the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Length of ImpairmentTo be considered for benefits, your disability must be expected to result in death or last at least 12 months or can be expected to last at least 12 months. This 12-month duration requirement applies to both SSD and SSI. The duration requirement may be met even though recovery is expected after a 12-month period.

What is a Medically Determinable Impairment(s)?

A medically determinable impairment is an anatomical, physiological or psychological abnormality which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques and which are established by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings—not merely by the individual’s statement of symptoms.

What Will the SSA Use to Determine Disability?

The SSA will evaluate your medical evidence, including medical records and test results, to determine if you are disabled.

A disability determination is simply the decision by the SSA that you are considered disabled and qualify for SSD or SSI. These four points are important to remember:

  1. The SSA makes independent, case-by-case disability determinations.
  2. The determination by another agency besides the SSA that you are or are not disabled will not affect your disability determination through the SSA.
  3. Disability determinations are not based on a rating system; you are either disabled or not disabled.
  4. Because you have been denied benefits in the past does not mean the SSA will deny you again.

What the SSA is Looking For: 

The SSA will find that you are not disabled if the medical and other evidence in your case establishes that your impairment(s) is not severe. Your impairment(s) is not severe if it does not significantly limit your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities, such as: sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, handling, reaching, pushing, pulling, climbing, stooping, crouching, seeing, hearing, speaking; understanding, carrying out, and remembering simple instructions; using judgment; responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and usual work situations; and dealing with changes in a routine work setting.

How to File a Claim

File Claim - Social Security Attorney, Boise, IDThe very first step toward receiving benefits is to file an application. There are several ways to receive an application. For numbers and websites to contact SSA, click on “How To Get Started” in the left menu bar.

  1. You can call SSA and request an application.
  2. You may go to an SSA office and a representative will help you.
  3. You may go online and complete an application.

It is important that you file an application as soon as possible, as benefits are only payable one year prior to your application date.  And the more accurate your application, the smoother the process will be.

What Does the Application Include?

The application requires general information such as your age and social security number.  It also requires information about the following:

  1. Medical Records: You will also be asked to include medical records from all of your treating physicians. Include as much information as possible so that your claim can be processed faster. If you do not include your medical records, the SSA will contact your physicians to receive the information.  Social Security disability lawyers can help you access your medical records and determine what to include.
  2. Employment Information: You will need to include information about your employment going back 15 years. You will need to include general information, as well as the length of employment, your tasks and duties, how your job was affected by your disability. The SSA requires this information not only to determine disability, but also to determine how long you’ve been disabled.
  3. Income Information: The application will ask for your income and asset information, including you savings account information, checking account information, and other assets. The SSA will use this information to determine if you should receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
  4. Activities of Daily Living: You will be asked to provide information about your Activities of Daily Life (ADLs). This includes what you do during the day, what your responsibilities are, etc. The SSA uses this information to determine your capability of doing substantial gainful activity. All the information you include in this section will either strengthen or weaken your case and a disability lawyer can help you prepare this section of your application.
  5. Onset of Disability: Lastly, you will need to provide information regarding when your disability began. The application will ask what day you believe your disability started.

Disability Determination Services:

After you file your application, your local SSA office will determine if you meet the non-medical criteria for disability determination. If you do, your completed application will be sent to Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS will review your application and determine your eligibility.

During this time, a Claims Examiner from your local DDS office will be assigned to your case. The Claims Examiner can answer questions about your application and the determination process, but he or she cannot answer medical questions specifically. The Claims Examiner will, however, request additional medical records if needed.

What If I’ve Already Filed an Application and Been Denied?

If you’ve already filed an application and your claim has been denied, you may file an appeal. Remember, about 70% of first applications are denied. First-time applications are often denied, so don’t lose hope. But, if you have already filed an application, filing another new application won’t get you very far. Since the SSA often denies first applications, your new applications may be denied as well.

Instead of filing a new application, you should appeal the denial of your first application. A social security disability lawyer can be especially helpful at this point.

Medical Evidence

Boise Social Security Attorneys - Your DoctorsAny medical evidence and records will be evaluated by SSA when determining your disability.  Medical evidence may include your medical records, x-rays, progress notes and testimony. The strongest form of medical evidence is objective evidence, including, MRI’s, x-rays, pulmonary tests and blood tests.

The SSA realizes, however, that objective tests may not indicate all disabilities, and will evaluate the appropriate evidence depending on your disability. If an objective test will not prove your condition, the SSA will rely on other medical records and, in some cases, testimony from you and your doctors.

How Should I Get My Medical Evidence?

During the initial application process, you will be asked to provide the information of all of your treating physicians. The SSA will ask for releases, and will then obtain your medical records from your treating physicians.

Your Social Security Disability lawyer can help you to compile your medical evidence and records.

What If I Cannot Afford Medical Treatment and Cannot Obtain Medical Evidence?

It is very important for your case that you receive regular medical treatment, so that your medical records are kept up to date. If you have experienced financial difficulty and cannot afford to visit a medical professional, try to contact a free or low-cost  clinic in your area.

What If the SSA Requires More Tests?

If the SSA does not have enough medical evidence, it may request a consultative medical exam. Depending on why the SSA requests additional medical information, you may receive a consultative medical examination from an SSA examiner, your personal physician, or another medical source.

The SSA may request a consultative medical exam for several reasons: to obtain more evidence, to obtain the opinion of a doctor other than your own, to obtain more detailed medical findings about your impairment(s), to obtain specialized medical information, to resolve conflicts or differences in medical findings in the evidence already in file, or to resolve the issue of your ability to do substantial gainful activity. 

The source will evaluate your impairment and will make a recommendation to the SSA as to what your limitations are. The consultative exam will complete a report for the SSA. The report must be signed by the medical source who provided the examination.

In this case, the cost of the consultative exam is covered by the SSA. The SSA will not cover the cost of exams or medical tests scheduled by you or your disability attorney without prior SSA approval.

What If I Refuse a Consultative Medical Examination?

If you refuse a consultative examination without good cause, the SSA will determine your disability based on the evidence already compiled. Unless you have a good reason not to, you should comply with the SSA.

What If I Am Being Treated For My Impairment?

If, even with treatment that is expected to restore your ability to do substantial gainful activity, your impairment is expected to last at least 12 months, you may be found disabled.

Note: If your physician prescribes treatment which may restore your ability to work, you must follow such treatment. If you do not follow this prescribed treatment without a good reason, the SSA will not consider you disabled. You are not considered disabled if you refuse treatment without justification. If you still cannot engage in substantial gainful activity after following prescribed treatment, you may be found disabled.

Work and Disability

Work and Disability - Social Security Disability Attorneys, Boise, IDSocial Security will consider you NOT disabled if you can engage in what is called substantial gainful activity.  The rules are fairly strait forward, but there are some finer points that may apply to your case.  You should consult Social Security Attorneys, Boise Idaho before you make the decision that your work does not does not meet the requirements of substantial gainful activity.

Evaluating Work Activity: Substantial Gainful Activity–What Is Substantial Gainful Activity? 

Definition: substantial gainful activity describes a level of work activity and earnings. The SSA does not consider all work substantial gainful activity. Work is considered substantial if it involves significant mental or physical activities or a combination of both. The following is considered gainful:

  • Work that was performed for pay or profit;
  • Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or
  • Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is earned.

Note: Work does not need to be on a full-time basis to be considered substantial gainful activity. Work performed on a part-time basis may also be substantial gainful activity.

Earnings: In 2013, the monthly substantial gainful activity earnings limit was $1040. If you earned more than $1040 a month, you will not be considered eligible for benefits, and your work is considered substantial.

If I’m Not Working At All, Do I Qualify for Benefits?

Not necessarily. Simply because you are not working does not mean you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. And low or no earnings during a period of work activity do not establish your inability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Is There Any Way to Receive Benefits If I Can Do Substantial Gainful Activity?

Typically, if you are doing substantial gainful activity, you will not be considered eligible for benefits. There are only two exceptions to the SSA’s determination that substantial gainful activity disqualifies you from receiving benefits. The exceptions are:

  1. A statutorily blind worker age 55 or over– Evidence of your ability to do substantial gainful activity that does not require skills or abilities comparable to any gainful activity that you did in the past does not prevent a finding of disability for either entitlement to benefits or establishment of a period of disability. However, you will not receive back pay for the months you participated in substantial gainful activity.
  2. A statutorily blind applicant for SSI benefits– Evidence of your ability to do substantial gainful activity does not prevent a finding of blindness disability. Your earnings, however, may not exceed the income and resource limitations.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity for Those Considered Statutorily Blind?

The SSA has a special definition of substantial gainful activity for individuals disabled by blindness. These individuals are considered to be performing substantial gainful activity if their earnings are higher than $1570 a month for 2008. And there is no duration requirement for SSI payments based upon statutory blindness.

What is the Difference Between Substantial Gainful Activity and “Make Work”?

Make work is different than substantial gainful activity and does not affect a disability determination. Make work involves minimal or insignificant duties. This type of work makes little or no demand on you and contributes little or nothing to your employer or to your own business if you are self-employed. Your performance of “make work” does not show that you are able to do substantial gainful activity.

What If I am Self-Employed? 

While the SSA determines each case individually, your earnings while self-employed may not be considered substantial gainful activity.

What If I Earned Too Much, But I Had to Stop Working Because of My Impairment?

If you had to stop working after less than 6 months because your impairment prevented you from working, your earnings will not necessarily demonstrate your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

What If I Go Back to Work?

There are ways you can work and continue to receive disability benefits. Make sure you inform the SSA if you return to work, if your work duties or wages change, or if you begin to pay work expenses because of your disability. Here are several incentives to return to work:

If you want to attempt to return to work while you are disabled, the SSA allows you to try a trial work period. During this 9-month period, you will receive your full disability benefits each month. One trial month is considered a month in which you earn at least $700. This trial work period will continue until you have worked 9 months in a 60-month period.

After your trial work period, you have a 36-month period during which you may work and still receive full disability benefits for months that your work is not considered substantial.

If you return to substantial work, and your benefits cease, the SSA allows 5 years for you to begin receiving benefits again. If you must stop working due to your condition, you may ask to receive your benefits. You are not required to file a new application.  If you return to substantial work, you can continue to receive Medicare Part A for at least 93 months.

What To Expect From the Disability Application Process

Boise Disability Lawyers - What to expectPlease review the links to the left for information on how to get started. Our Social Security Lawyers will help you through the entire process, from your initial application to the Appeals Council, and if your case warrants it, all the way to Federal Court. There are a few important things you should know about your application for Social Security Disability. The first is that it is not a short process and you should be mentally and emotionally prepared to wait 4 to 18 months before you get approved.

Why such a wide time estimate? There are three levels of the application process that most people will go through. 

Initial Application
The first step is the initial application. In Idaho, about 30-35% of people will get approved at this level. These will be critical cases such as low-birth weight babies, terminal cancer patients, individuals on organ donor lists or receiving dialysis and those who have severe physical limitations that are very well documented (but even some of these people get denied).  At the initial application, you need to provide Social Security with information regarding your doctors.  It is important that this information is complete because Social Security will collect your medical records and base their decision on those records.  The initial appliation process typically takes 4-5 months.

If you are denied after your initial application, don’t worry, most people are.  You should then ask for a reconsideration.  One of our Social Security Attorneys can help you with that.  At the reconsideration step, Social Security essentially hands your file to a different employee at the same office and asks them to review their co-worker.  As you can imagine, most cases are not approved at the reconsideration. In fact, in Idaho, only about 10-15% are approved.  It is still important to provide compete doctor information at this step of your Social Security Disability application so that Social Security can update your records. The reconsideration process typically takes 2-3 months.

Disability Hearing
If you are denied after you request a reconsideration, then you should ask for a hearing with a Social Security administrative law judge.  Your Social Security hearing is the most important phase of your Social Security Disability application.  With a Social Security
 attorney helping, about 65-75% of claimants are approved a their disability hearing.  That number is significantly lower for those who don’t have help.  One of our Social Security Attorneys for Boise would be happy to help you ask for a hearing and make sure you are prepared to appear before and administrative law judge.  You should know that at the hearing level, Social Security will no longer assist you in collecting your medical records.  Our staff will collect these records for you and make sure that Social Security has all of the relevant medical records in order to find you disabled.  The wait for a hearing is typically 9-10 months.

As you can see, applying for disability may take several months, so it is better to get the process started right away–you can work on getting the details of your application completed as you go along–but its important to get the clock running on your claim.  To your left is a link entitled “Getting Started”.  After you have spoken with a Social Security Disability attorney, please follow that link and begin your application right away.  The information you need to provide on this initial Social Security application  is simple and straight-forward.  Social Security will mail you some additional forms that you will want some help with.  One of our Social Security Disability Lawyers can help you with the documentation that Social Security will then send to you–particularly the “Function Report”.

The Process for Determining Disability

Once your claim is filed, the SSA relies on a 5-Step Sequential Evaluation Process when determining disability. If you meet the criteria of one of the steps, the SSA may determine you are eligible for disability benefits. If, however, you do not meet the criteria of any of the five steps, the SSA will not find you disabled. If you are found disabled or not disabled at one step, the SSA will not continue evaluating your claim.

Step 1: The first step is to consider your work history and ability. If you are engaged in substantial gainful activity  the SSA will find you not disabled.

Step 2: The second step is to consider the severity of your impairment(s). A severe impairment is one that limits your ability to do work-related activities. The SSA will evaluate severity based on your medical evidence, activities of daily living, and the length of the impairment.

Step 3: The third step is to consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). The SSA will determine if you meet a listing or equal a listing. The SSA will evaluate if you have a listed impairment(s), including the accompanying symptoms. If your disability is severe and meets the conditions outlined in the listings of impairments, the SSA will find you disabled at this step.  The SSA will also evaluate your residual functional capacity (see below), which includes your capabilities after your impairment(s) is taken into consideration.

Step 4: The fourth step is to consider your ability to function and your past relevant work. If you can still do your past relevant work, the SSA will find you not disabled.

Step 5: The fifth step is to consider your ability to function, as well as your age, education, and relevant work experience. If the SSA determined you are able to make an adjustment to other work, it will not find you disabled.

The SSA refers to this as the transferability of skills—are your skills such that you can transfer to another type of work? The SSA will evaluate what skills you have gained in your past relevant work and will evaluate 1) if your employment met the monetary standards of substantial gainful activity, 2) whether you worked long enough to learn skills and techniques which make you competitive in the work place, and 3) whether the work was done within the last 15 years.

What Is Residual Functional Capacity?

If you do not meet or equal a listing, the SSA will determine yourresidual functional capacity. This term applies to what daily activities you are capable of after your impairment(s) is taken into consideration.

It is very likely that you will be asked to fill out a residual functional capacity form. Both your mental and physical residual functional capacity will be evaluated. You will be asked to provide information about all your daily activities, including your ability to reach, grasp, walk, sit, clean, cook, drive, do yard work, etc.

What If My Claim Is Denied?

If your claim is denied, there is a process for appealing it. A Social Security Lawyer is essential during this appeals process.

Claim Reconsideration: If your claim is denied, you can request reconsideration and a hearing.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing: If your reconsideration is denied, you can request a hearing in front of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who will evaluate your case.
Appeals Council: If the ALJ denies your claim, you can appeal to the Disability Appeals Council.
Federal Court Appeals: Even if the Disability Appeals Council denies your claim, you can appeal to the Federal Court.

Will I Receive Medical Assistance If I Qualify for Disability?

Once you have received SSDI benefits for two years, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare. If you qualify for SSI, you will be enrolled in Medicaid after 1 month of receiving benefits, as long as you have completed an Idaho Medicaid application. If you receive both SSDI and SSI, you may be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

How Long Will I Receive Disability Benefits?

Once you are found disabled, and you begin receiving benefits, you may not be considered disabled indefinitely.

Your disability ends when your impairment has been successfully treated to the extent that you can engage in substantial gainful activity, or when your impairment no longer meets or equals a listing in the Listing of Impairments.

The SSA may determine that you are no longer eligible for social security benefits if:

  • You can engage in substantial gainful activity
  • You demonstrate your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity by working more or earning more that the SSA allows
  • You fail to cooperate with the SSA, such as refusing to supply continued medical evidence of an impairment(s)
  • You do not follow prescribed treatment that could restore your ability to do substantial gainful activity.
  • The SSA is unable to locate you

What is a Continuing Disability Review?

After you have been receiving benefits, the SSA will periodically review your case to determine that you are still disabled. This is called a continuing disability review. Your continuing disability review is a medical review and the point is to determine if your disability or impairment has improved enough for you to engage in substantial gainful activity.

The SSA will ask for updated medical evidence and files, including copies of your medical records. If the SSA needs more information, it may request another consultative medical exam.

During the continuing disability review, it is important to represent your condition accurately, not exaggerating or making light of your symptoms.

What Should I Do Once I Am Found Disabled?

You should continue to seek regular medical exams and treatment after you begin receiving disability benefits. This will ensure that you have accurate, up-to-date information for the SSA during a continuing disability review.

Social Security Disability Programs

SSI and SSDI Attorneys for Boise, IDSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI)- SSDI is for workers who have contributed to the Social Security trust fund. In order to receive SSDI benefits, you must meet particular work requirements.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)- SSI is based on income and even uninsured workers may qualify. SSI does not have work requirements, while SSDI does.

Basic SSD Disability Requirements:

In order to be considered for SSD, you must: be a United States citizen or permanent resident, you must not yet be eligible to claim retirement benefits (younger than 65), you must have worked recently enough and for enough time, and you must be considered disabled by SSA standards.

Insured Workers:

In order to qualify for SSD, you must be an insured worker; that is, you must have earned enough work credits to draw disability benefits. The number of work credits you need depends on your age when you became disabled. And if you are not eligible for SSDI, you may qualify for SSI.

Work Credits:

The amount of money you need to earn in order to receive one work credit changes each year: in 2009, you need to earn at least $1,090 during the year to receive one work credit. You could have earned up to four work credits if you earned $4,360 during the year. Usually, you must have earned at least 20 work credit to qualify. In other words, you must have worked for 5 out of the last 10 years.

Basic SSI Disability Requirements:

In order to be considered for SSI, you must: be a United States citizen or in of of certain immigration categories granted by Home Land Security, earn less than a specified income amount, have limited resources, and you must be considered disabled by SSA standards.

You must earn less than a specified income amount to be eligible for SSI. This amount is called the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). Many states allow you to earn more than the FBR and still qualify for SSI, however. And the FBR does not consider all of your income when evaluating your eligibility.

Beyond simply evaluating your income, the SSA also considers your resources, or any asset that can be converted into cash for support. The resource limit for an individual is $2,000 and the limit per couple is $3,000.  Because the income restrictions for SSI benefits are complicated, you need to consult with your local Social Security office to verify if you qualify for SSI benefits.

The SSA considers the following resources:

  • The first $20 a month of most income you receive
  • The first $65 a month you earn from working and half the amount over $65
  • Food stamps
  • Housing or shelter you receive from nonprofit agencies
  • Home energy assistance

The SSA does not consider the following resources:

  • The home you live in or the value of the land
  • Life insurance policies with a face value of $1,500 or less
  • Your car
  • Considerations for burial including burial plots for you and members of your immediate family and up to $1,500 burial funds for both you and your spouse
  • Household goods up to $2,000 in value


SSA Listings

SSI Listings Social Security Lawyers, Boise, IDSocial Security has listed certain conditions that are generally so severe that they preclude substantial gainful activity.  If you meet one of these listings, you will be found disabled.

Meeting a Listing:

One way the SSA will determine that you are disabled is if you meet a listing in the Listing of Impairments. The SSA will determine youmeet a listing when your impairment is included in the Listing.

Being diagnosed with an impairment in the Listing of Impairments is not enough to establish a pattern of disability, however. To meet a listing, you must display the symptoms, clinical signs, and medical test results specified in the particular listing.

Social Security Impairment Listings: 

The SSA lists 14 primary areas of disability. Remember that the list is simply one way the SSA determines eligibility for benefits. If your disorder does not appear on the list, you are not disqualified from receiving benefits. The listings are (click on the listing for more information):

If you want additional information about the listings, and which disorders are included, you can access it HERE

What If I Don’t Meet a Listing?

You do not have to meet a listing to be considered disabled. The listings are examples of common impairments that the SSA has found to be severe enough that they prevent adults from engaging in substantial gainful activity. If you do not meet a listing, the SSA will use your medical evidence to determine if your impairment(s) is at least as severe as, or more severe than, a listed impairment. This is called equaling a listing.

What If I Don’t Meet a Listing or Equal a Listing?

Even if you do not meet a listing, and your impairment is not medically equal to a listed impairment, the SSA may still consider you disabled.

In the case that you do not meet a listing or equal a listing, the SSA will evaluate your functional capacity for work. The SSA will look at your work history and background, your age, and education.

Are There Any Disabilities That Automatically Qualify Me For Disability?

While there are some disabilities that usually or obviously inhibit your ability to do substantial gainful activity, you may have an especially strong case if you are over 50. The older you get, the more difficult it can be to switch jobs and receive further training. Especially if you’ve worked primarily manual labor jobs, continuing with a disability can be impossible.

Work History:

The SSA will evaluate your work history and vocational background to see if your impairment prevents you from continuing your past work. Past work is considered relevant work within the last 15 years that you engaged in for long enough to learn the work.

If you have no past relevant work, or you did not continue at a job long enough to learn the work, the SSA will determine what other work you can do considering your impairment, age, education, and work experience. The SSA only considers jobs in significant numbers in the current national economy.

Age and Education:

The SSA will consider your age if it could not make a disability determination based on medical evidence, work history, and education. The SSA will consider advancing age when making a disability determination, but your unemployment must primarily due to your impairment rather than your age. The SSA will often consider your age in conjunction with your education level and work history. The SSA may determine that you are disabled if:

  • You are not working
  •  You have at least 35 years of work experience limited to unskilled physical labor
  •  You have a sixth grade or less education
  •  You have a more than “not severe” impairment that prevents you from continuing in your previous kind of work.


  • You have no past relevant work
  • You are at least 55 years old
  • You have less than a high school education
  • You have an impairment that is more than “not severe”


  • You have a lifetime commitment to a field of work you can no longer do because of a severe impairment
  • You are age 60 or older
  • You have less than a high school education
  • Your work background is unskilled, semiskilled, or skilled work but you have no abilities to do other work

When does the SSA Not Consider Work Experience?

While the SSA will consider your age, education, and work history, it does not view unemployment in itself as evidence of a disability. When making a disability determination, the SSA will not consider your inability to get work, lack of work in your geographical region, few or no job openings, hiring practices of employers, technological advances in your industry, economic conditions which can’t be helped, not actually being hired to do work you could otherwise do, or not wanting to do a particular type of work. If you have any questions regarding this or other topics, our Boise disability attorneys can clarify. Call our local social security attorneys today for a free social security disability consultation!