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?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
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
When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
An anonymous commenter recently stated that they had communicated with the disability examiner who was working on their case and that the examiner had advised that they were done with the physical part of the claim and were now working on the mental part of the claim. The commenter stated "if they had found me disabled physically then why would they waste time and money on the mental? I feel sure I am about to be denied".
My response: Anonymous, I would not worry about this too much. The disability examiner is obligated to pursue development on your case for both a mental disability as well as physical impairments. This is because they have no way of knowing whether or not you will be found to be disabled for either impairment. And even if you were considered to be disabled on the basis of BOTH your physical and mental impairments, it might be that the medical evidence for one or both impairments might support an earlier onset date that would provide for more back pay.
For example, let's pretend that your medical evidence for your physical condition meets the definition of disability and that you could expect to be approved on the basis of this alone. How far back you will be awarded disability benefits will depend on the available evidence for your physical condition.
Let's further speculate that your mental condition likewise meets the definition of disability. Well, if the medical evidence for the mental condition supports an even earlier onset date (when your condition is considered to have become disabling in the way that the social security administration considers a person to be disabled), then it would definitely be to your advantage to have the mental aspect of your case evaluated because the further back the onset date is, the more you can receive in disability back pay.
Additionally, if your case is for title II social security disability benefits (versus title 16 SSI disability benefits), then having the earliest possible onset date for your claim can make a real difference as to when your eligibility for medicare benefits will begin.
In summation, it is completely to your advantage for the disability examiner to fully develop (another way of saying consider all the evidence) both the physical and mental aspects of your claim. This is for two reasons:
1. You may be found disabled for one type of impairment but not the other.
2. Even if you are found to be disabled for both the mental and physical aspects of your case, it may be that one of your impairments (mental or physical) has medical evidence that allows for an earlier and more advantageous onset date. And, as we've said, this can have an impact on how much back pay benefits you may receive as well as on how soon you can receive your medicare benefits (assuming you file for social security disability--SSI applicants are not eligible for medicare but can receive medicaid instead).
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Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials