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
Is There A Way To Get Automatically Approved For SSI And Social Security Disability?
There is no “automatic” way to get approved for SSI and Social Security disability, though there are disability claims that are approved more quickly than others. Social Security uses the same medical disability process to evaluate all disability claims.
Most disability claims take some time to receive a disability approval; yet, there are some situations that allow for a quick approval for SSI and/or Social Security disability benefits. For example, if a person files a disability claim on the basis that they have a terminal illness, Social Security has an expedited evaluation process.
In most cases, disability claims that involve a terminal illness are processed in thirty days or less.
Of course, even these disability claims must have medical evidence that supports that the individual has a terminal illness, which means that Social Security must secure objective medical evidence to support the disability applicant’s allegation of a terminal illness. Disability claims that involve a terminal illness are the closest to an automatic approval that the Social Security or SSI disability programs have.
Still, some disability claims can be receive an approval for disability quickly, if they meet or equal the criteria of an impairment listing contained in the Social Security disability handbook. All disability examiners use the disability handbook, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security”, to evaluate medical evidence for their disability decisions.
If a person has a medical condition that is so severe that it meets or equals the severity requirements of an impairment listing, they will be approved medically for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability.
I say "medically approved" because all disability applicants must still meet the non-disability requirements of SSI and/or Social Security disability which, for the most part, involves consideration of income, and specifically in the case of SSI, assets as well.
Most disability applicants do not meet or equal an impairment listing nor are they terminal, which of course means that the disability process can often be lengthy in addition to being far less than automatic.
When a case does not allow for an approval based on a disability listing, the disability examiner (or administrative law judge, depending on the level of the claim) will need to review the claimant's medical records to determine their functional limitations (e.g., reduced ability to sit, stand, walk, concentrate, remember, reach, bend, etc, etc).
Once the level of a person's limitations has been assessed on a residual functional capacity assessment, the individual's present capabilities will be compared to their work history to determine if they can go back to a former job, or switch to a new type of employment. Claimants who are found to be unable to go back to their past work (potentially, any of the jobs they have done in the 15 year period prior to becoming disabled) AND who are found to lack the ability to do some type of other work will be found disabled by SSA.
Obviously, the criteria for being awarded disability benefits is fairly strict. In most cases, an analysis of a claimant's medical history and work history will be necessary, which certainly underscores the importance of providing detailed information to Social Security at the time of application.
At a hearing--the majority of claimants who are approved by SSA have found it necessary to go to a hearing after being denied at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels--it may also be necessary to build a compelling argument for approval in light of applicable federal regulations (title 20 of the code of federal regulations), SSRs (Social Security court rulings), as well as the grid rules that direct decisions on cases.
Suffice it to say, winning at the hearing level will often depend on having an astute knowledge of Social Security administrative law and procedure.
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