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
Social Security Disability Advice from the Wrong Sources
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
A conversation with an individual who was contemplating filing for disability revealed that he had been bad advice from multiple sources. One of those sources was his own psychiatrist. Even worse, however, was the fact that the other source of bad direction and advice was from the social security office that he had inquired into applying for disability with.
Let's address the first source. What was said to him by his treating psychiatrist? He was told by his psychiatrist that he was not disabled and could do something else for a living. This advice, of course, was not helpful and not useful.
Speaking as a former disability examiner, the advice could only be characterized as the sort of information that would come from an individual--regardless of the fact that they might be working as a trained treatment professional--who knew nothing about the social security disability program or SSI program (which, from a case processing standpoint, are practically the same program since as far as the medical disability criteria is concerned, what makes one eligible and disabled for one, will satisfy the eligibility requirements of the other.
First, unless a psychiatrist is working for the social security administration as a mental consultant (mental and medical consultants provide consultation and support to disability examiners; technically speaking, disability examiners render decisions on claims; however, examiners are not medical personnel and have no specific training in this regard), it is highly unlikely that they even begin to understand what the social security definition of disability states and, therefore, what it is that makes a person disabled.
Secondly, because this person's psychiatrist advised him that he could do something else for a living, it even more clearly highlighted how much the psychiatrist did not understand the concept of disability as used by the social security administration.
Social security uses a definition of disability (see: What is a disability according to the Social Security Administration? ) that states that a person must be disabled for at least one full year before disability benefits can be awarded. During that minimum length of time, the person must have functional limitations (physical or mental) that are severe enough to make it impossible for them to work and earn a substantial and gainful income.
This means they must be unable to work and earn a gainful living at their former job. However, it is also means their condition must be severe enough that they cannot return to any of the past work that they have done in the past 15 years. And it is also means that their condition must be severe enough that they cannot find other employment that utilizes their physical and mental capabilities, age (some jobs will be considered less likely based on a person's age), education, and job training or vocational skills.
It's fairly obvious from the psychiatrist's statements that they were entirely ignorant of how SSA views disability. For SSA purposes, disability means lacking the ability to engage in work activity at a level that enables a person to earn a livable income (perhaps we should say barely livable since the SGA, or substantial gainful activity, limit is very low).
It is also obvious, and painfully so, that the psychiatrist did not recognize that her patient who is currently 59 years old, would not necessarily have a great deal of advantage in seeking employment when pitted against younger job applicants in a competitive job market. Fortunately, the social security administration does. The medical vocational grid of social security rules makes the prospect of receiving a social security disability award or SSI award a bit easier for claimants who are between the ages of 50 and 54. At age 55, the rules become more favorable yet again.
This is the case due to a realization by the federal government that is rooted in commonsense: as individuals get older, their vocational opportunities will become less. This is often the case regardless of the quality of a person's resume, or the depth of their skills and training. And it simply becomes a fact that individuals, as they age, will have more difficulty finding new employment and new types of employment (e.g. younger workers can be paid less, for one thing), a situation only considerably aggravated when a physical or mental impairment is involved.
In the page following this, we will discuss the second bad source of direction and advice, which, unfortunately, came from the mouth of a worker in a social security office.
Can the Social Security Office give you Bad Advice on a Disability Claim?
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Topics and Questions
The Difference Between Social Security Disability and SSI Really Involves Work Activity
How Long Do I Get To Keep My Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?
Applying for disability benefits in California
Will The Condition You have Determine How Much You Get For Disability?
How Disabled Must You be to get Social Security Disability Approved?
After a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do You have A Chance Of Losing Disability Benefits If Your Case Gets Reviewed?
Who Makes the Decision at the Social Security Disability, SSI Hearing Level?
What are the ways to File an Appeal for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim denial?
How much does Social Security Disability or SSI pay?
What Are The Reasons For Social Security Disability Cases Being Denied?
Are Social Security Disability Claims Based On Back Pain Usually Turned Down?
Recent Medical Records for a Social Security Disability or SSI case
What Does It Mean If you Are Denied For Disability Because Of Other Work?
What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim ?
Will my claim for SSD or SSI Disability Benefits be denied?
Can a Disability Examiner or Judge make a Social Security Approval with Old Medical Records?
Social Security Disability Hearing-How Do I Request One?
SSI Disability for Children and Age Appropriate Activities
Do I automatically receive Medicare benefits if I'm approved for disability benefits?
Inability to Work and Eligibility for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI - Mental and Physical Residual Functional Capacity
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in DC, District of Columbia
How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability Benefits?
Do You Get Cost Of Living Increases If You Receive Social Security Disability Or SSI?
When a person that has been receiving SSD monthly payments dies, how is the last payment made?
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