SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
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: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page