The majority of West Virginia residents who have applied for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration will have to see a judge. They need to go through a very stringent evaluation process that entails going through impairment listings. These listings address disorders and illnesses for all of the body's systems and establish the criteria that have to be met in order for the applicant to qualify for the disability program.
Seeing a judge will not be necessary for people who have met an impairment listing. Also, people who have severely restricted residual functional capacity ratings may be able to obtain disability benefits based on a medical-vocational disability approval.
A person's education, work, age, residual functional capacity and work history are used to determine medical vocational disability approvals. A five-step process is used to make these approvals. During the process, a disability examiner or a judge will decide if the applicants are able to return to their previous work, and if they are not, the judge will decide whether they are capable of performing some other type of work. If it is determined that the answer to both inquiries is no, the applicant may receive disability benefits. If a disability benefits approval cannot be obtained by equaling or meeting the requirements of an impairment listing or with a medical vocational allowance provided for an initial disability claim, the applicant will have to go through the disability appeal process if they still want to try to be approved for disability benefits.
A Social Security Disability attorney may assist clients with navigating the process for applying for disability benefits. The attorney may help clients with obtaining the necessary documentation, such as medical records and work history, that is requested by disability examiners. Legal representation may also be provided at disability hearings during the appeal process.