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Who decides if I can work despite my disability?

A disability that limits a person’s capacity to engage in work functions — such as moving, sitting and remembering — and that lasts for at least one year may qualify an Oklahoma resident for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. However, a person must do more than prove that they are disabled to get disability benefits. They must also submit to inquiries regarding their ability to do past work or to transition into other forms of work that may accommodate their disabling conditions.

Reviewers with the Social Security Administration carefully assess the abilities of applicants to work in jobs that will provide them with gainful wages. If a worker’s disability is based on an injury that prevents them from doing the manual nature of their past work, the reviewer on their case may explore other options.

This can mean using an applicant for disability benefits’ educational background, prior work experiences, age and other factors to find different work tasks that may be suitable to their disability. If it is found that a person can do some form of work that accommodates their disability and provides them with an income, they may be denied disability benefits due to their ability to find their own source of income.

It is important that applicants for disability benefits provide honest and accurate information with their application documents so that their reviewers have a complete picture of what the applicants are able to do in terms of work. If an applicant is told that their request for disability benefits has been denied because of their possible work options, they may wish to discuss their next steps with an attorney who practices disability benefits law.

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