Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
If Am Medically Disabled, Can Social Security Still Turn Me Down for Disability for Some Reason?
The answer to this question is maybe yes, maybe no. It really depends upon which disability program an individual is eligible for. Social Security manages two disability programs: Social Security disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI).
Social Security disability is a disability program that depends upon insured status. Insured status is earned through an individualís past work activity. If an individual has been found medically disabled through the Social Security disability medical evaluation process, they generally cannot be turned down for any reason.
Perhaps the only reason that an individual who has been found medically disabled can be turned down is if they have returned to substantial work activity while Social Security was making their disability determination. In this situation, their disability approval would be reopened to a denial due to having earnings above the SGA limit.
SGA or substantial gainful activity is just a monthly earnings amount--or a monthly amount of hours worked if the individual is self employed--that Social Security has determined to be self-supporting. Naturally, work activity is carefully considered.
Part of the definition of disability for Social Security purposes is an inability to perform SGA for twelve continuous months or the expectation of an inability to perform SGA for twelve continuous months due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. Even if an individual is found medically disabled, they are not considered disabled by Social Security unless they are unable to perform SGA as well.
Supplemental Security Income disability is based upon need rather than insured status. Therefore, this need-based disability program, like many other social need programs, has limits upon income and resources. If an individual is medically disabled, but they have too many resources, or too much income, they will be denied for the SSI disability benefits.
Unfortunately, there are SSI applicants who are found medically disabled, only to be denied disability benefits at an "end line interview" because their income or resources have increased while the disability determination was being made.
To summarize, work activity is the only thing that can affect the eligibility of an individual for both Social Security disability and SSI disability applicants who have gone through the disability evaluation process and been approved for disability. SSI beneficiaries can be turned down for disability benefits--even if they have been approved--if they do not meet the SSI program income and resource limits.
And the income does not have to just come from work activity. By contrast, only work activity income affects a Social Security disability beneficiaryís eligibility once they have been medically approved for disability benefits.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria