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
Disability Denials and Filing 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 Back Pay and the disability award notice
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
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Is getting social security disability easier for mental or physical problems?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Some individuals assume that a claim for SSD or SSI disability benefits will be easier to process and get approved if it is based on a specific condition, or a condition that is either physical or mental in nature.
However, speaking as a former disability examiner for social security, this is simply not the case. While there are some conditions that may potentially receive faster processing because they are identified as compassionate allowance conditions (often these conditions are specific forms of cancer) and while some cases may be processed faster because they have been identified as a TERI case (terminal illness), the strength of most claims has little to do with the specific illness or impairment that has been alleged.
Why is the case and why would it be true that a mental disability claim is no stronger than a physical disability claim, or vice-versa? Because the social security disability program and the SSI disability program are not concerned with which condition a claimant has, but, instead, with how severe their condition is.
Of course, the word "severe" is somewhat subjective. However, the social security administration does delineate what is not a severe impairment. Impairments that are not severe are those that result in only a minimal inability to engage in basic work activities. For children, non-severe impairments are those that only result in a minimal inability to engage in age-appropriate activities.
To answer the question with which we started, it is no easier or harder to receive disability for a physical condition versus a mental condition. The social security administration will award benefits to those adult claimants who can prove that their condition (which may result from several different impairments, and, in fact, this is often the case) is severe enough to prevent work activity at the substantial gainful activity level, and those child claimants who can prove that their condition is severe enough to sufficiently inhibit age-appropriate activities (often demonstrated by grade performance and achievement and IQ testing scores).
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
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews