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Chicago Social Security Disability LawyerOriginally published: September 13, 2011 -- Updated: December 6, 2021

UPDATE: Below, we look at the requirements that a person will need to meet to demonstrate that symptoms related to hypogammaglobulinemia fall into a category that Social Security considers to be a disabling medical condition. However, it is important to understand that even if a person does not meet the specific criteria detailed in Social Security’s Listing of Impairments, they may still be able to qualify for disability benefits by providing evidence of total disability.

Social Security uses a five-step process to evaluate a disability claim, and the third step in this process involves determining whether a person’s condition is included in the Listing of Impairments or is equivalent to a condition in this listing. If a person’s condition does not meet the criteria in the Listing of Impairments, the fourth step of the evaluation process will look at whether a person can perform work they have done in the past, and the fifth step will look at whether they can perform other types of work that would allow them to maintain enough income to support themselves.


Chicago Social Security Disability LawyerInjuries, illnesses, and other health issues can affect people in many different ways. While some people can continue working and supporting themselves while dealing with these issues, others may experience disabilities that make it impossible to earn sufficient income. For those who are unable to work, Social Security disability benefits can provide assistance and ensure that they will have the financial resources to provide for their ongoing needs. By understanding how Social Security determines whether a person is disabled, those who plan to apply for disability benefits can make sure they will be eligible for financial assistance.

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

Social Security will only provide benefits in cases where a person has a total disability, and it will not address partial disabilities or short-term disabilities. A condition will only be considered a disability if it has already lasted for at least 12 months, if it is expected to affect a person for one year or more, or if it is expected to result in death. To qualify as a total disability, a condition must cause a person to be unable to do work that they had done previously, and a person must be unable to adjust to other forms of work.

While a person will usually apply for disability benefits if they are unemployed because of their health conditions, they may qualify for benefits if they are working but earn less than the amount that Social Security considers to be substantial gainful activity (SGA). In 2021, SGA is defined as an average monthly income of $1,310 or $2,190 for a person who is blind. 


illinois social security lawyerIf health issues have affected your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If your condition has lasted or will last for at least one year, and it has prevented you from earning a sufficient income, it may be considered a disability. However, during the process of applying for disability benefits, you will be required to provide extensive evidence demonstrating that your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working. Social Security will look at a number of issues during the application process, and one of these is your past relevant work and whether you are still able to perform these types of work.

Evaluating Past Relevant Work

As part of the five-step evaluation process used to determine eligibility for disability benefits, Social Security will look at whether you are currently able to perform past relevant work. To determine whether work you had previously done is relevant, Social Security will consider the following factors:

  • Was the work substantial and gainful? To be relevant, work you had done in the past must be considered substantial gainful activity (SGA). Social Security determines whether work meets this standard based on the amount of income earned, and the applicable SGA amounts are updated each year. For example, in 2010, Social Security defined SGA as $1,000 per month. If you worked during that year in a position where you earned at least that amount, your work may be relevant.


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