Missouri residents with disabilities face many challenges, including receiving appropriate benefits and accommodations at work.
It is common for people who qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to also be entitled to accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Let our Joplin, MO Social Security Disability attorneys explain the interplay between these two types of benefits available to individuals with disabilities.
What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefits programs designed for the disabled and managed by the Social Security Administration. SSDI is only available to workers who have earned enough “work credits” with Social Security in order to be entitled to benefits. If you qualify and you are unemployed because of a physical or mental disability, then you may be entitled to certain benefits.
When your disability application is submitted, your file is turned over to a designated state office that actually reviews your medical records and any other documentation you submit along with it. In Missouri, it is known as Missouri Disability Determination Services.
These state agencies determine medical eligibility for Social Security disability for their residents. However, the process has been standardized throughout the country.
Accommodations for Individuals Covered by the ADA
The ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects individuals with certain disabilities from being discriminated against in the workplace. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities in order for them to perform their job duties.
However, if a requested accommodation would create an undue hardship on the employer, then the employer may not be required to provide that accommodation.
Differences in SSD and the ADA
One of the most basic differences between the ADA and SSD is that they have very different eligibility requirements.
In particular, for an individual to receive SSD benefits, they must not be able to work.
On the other hand, ADA protections are available for those who can still perform their essential job duties but may need a reasonable accommodation to do so. For that reason, individuals who qualify for SSD benefits typically do not qualify for ADA accommodations. This does not mean that you cannot make claims under both.
If you have further questions about the differences, speak with one of our Joplin disability attorneys.
How the Social Security Administration Considers ADA Accommodations
When the Social Security Administration considers your disability claim, they will look at whether you have been able to perform your job duties. In doing so, they will consider any accommodations you may have received from your employer in order to perform your job in the past.
In many cases, the Social Security Administration uses a vocational expert to assess whether an individual is capable of performing certain jobs. The required job duties are determined by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles published by the US Department of Labor. This dictionary provides a list of job titles and descriptions for all jobs for the entire country.
Then the expert will determine the ability to perform those duties in light of their physical or mental limitations.
Some Attorneys Recommend that you Stop Working When Applying for SSD Benefits
Like collecting unemployment benefits, it is better to stop working, since you are claiming your disability prevents you from working. If you don’t quit your job entirely, you should at least cut your hours substantially, in order to not jeopardize your eligibility for disability benefits.
Social Security actually determines the amount of work you can do, while still being eligible for benefits. This is known as the SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity). If you earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity limit, your claim will likely be denied.
Contact an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney
If you have further questions, discuss your situation with our Joplin disability attorneys.
If you have questions regarding disability determinations, workplace accommodations, or any other Social Security disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation.
You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.