Bruce Durden

The Vidalia Disability Attorney

3110 First Street East,
Vidalia, Phone 888-705-8672 |

I have practiced law in Toombs County Georgia since 1975 and tried my first Social Security disability case in 1980. Since then I have tried over 1,000 Social Security disability cases.

I am a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) and have spoken at numerous Social Security disability conferences on various Social Security topics, including:

  • Proving Disability.
  • The Social Security Appeals Process.
  • Governmental Red Tape for the Elderly and Disabled.
  • The Use of Vocational Experts from a Claimant’s Viewpoint.
  • Severe Orthopedic Problems.
  • Diabetes in Social Security Disability Cases.
  • Vocational Experts Testimony.
  • Everything a Woman should know about Social Security.
  • Diabetes in Social Security Disability Cases.
  • Social Security Disability and Nursing Home Eligibility.
  • Vocational Expert Testimony, What can you do with it.
  • IQ Subtest Scores to Prove Disability.
  • Social Security Disability Claims.

I am ready to help people in southeast Georgia with Social Security disability claims. Please contact me and get my experience on your side.

If you do not already have a Georgia Social Security disability attorney and would like us to evaluate your claim, give us a brief description of your claim using the form to right, and we will respond promptly.

Durden, Rice & Barfield, P.C.Southeast Georgia Social Security disability lawyers

Appointments available in Dublin, Pooler, Savannah, Statesboro, and Vidalia

3110 First Street EastVidalia, Georgia 30474


How the Social Security Administration decides whether you are “disabled”


We work with a lot of Savannah and other Georgia Social Security disability claimants who are disabled in various ways. However, it is important to understand that the way that the Social Security Administration uses the way the word “disabled” does not necessarily match the way it is normally used.

Different government programs and agencies use the word “disabled” differently

It would seem that it would make sense for every government agency to mean the same thing when they used the word “disabled” but that is not the way it is.

For example, you will find different definitions of the word “disabled” in the rules and regulations governing:

  • The Veteran’s Administration.
  • Various workers compensation programs.
  • Insurance policies.
  • The Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration defines “disabled” according to your ability to work

In the Social Security Act the term “disability” is defined as an inability “to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment 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.”

The words “substantial gainful activity” mean “work” so this definition of disability means that for purposes of qualifying for Social Security disability benefits, you are disabled only if you (1) cannot do your previous work, and (2) cannot do “any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.”

Who decides whether you are disabled for purposes of Social Security disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration contracts out the initial decision on your application to a state agency. Therefore, after you file your disability claim, it is a disability examiner at the Georgia Disability Determination agency who makes the initial decision. If the examiner denies your claim and you request reconsideration then your case is sent to a different disability examiner in the same Georgia agency who reconsiders it.

Most claims are denied at this initial stage, and then denied at the reconsideration stage. At that point you may request an appeal hearing. For this appeal hearing your case is sent to an Administrative Law Judge who works for the Social Security Administration. This Administrative Law Judge conducts a hearing and makes an independent decision on your claim.