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
Why is the Social Security Administration definition of disability so strict?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
What does the social security definition of disability actually say? Basically, that you must have a condition, physical and/or mental, this is severe enough to last at least one full year, and severe enough to prevent you from engaging in work activity at a level at which you can earn a substantial and gainful income (known as SGA). This includes working at a job you have done in the past, or working at any other type of job for which you might be suited based on your functional capacity, education, work skills, and how old you are.
At the outset, it might not seem as though this definition is particularly harsh. However, when you look at the actual outcomes of cases, it would be difficult to argue that the social security definition of disability is not strict. After all, the majority of applicants for benefits are usually denied and for those who decide to file appeals (almost always the best route to take, as opposed to giving up or starting over with a new application), it can take years before disability benefits are awarded.
Here's what the social security administration has to say about the definition of disability that is used by the SSD and SSI programs and why it is as strict as it is:
"The disability programs are designed to provide long-term protection to individuals who are totally disabled, using Social Security criteria, and unable to do any kind of work in the national economy (or, for children, if their impairment or combination of impairments does result in marked and severe functional limitations). This is the most difficult type of disability to protect against, and most people and their employers cannot afford to protect against this risk through other means. Short-term disability can be provided for through other means; e.g., workers' compensation, insurance, family, savings and investments."
Things to take away from this explanation of the definition of disability are:
1.The social security administration provides benefits on the basis of total disability. Partial disability, such as can be found in the VA disability program, is not part of the equation.
2. The social security administration builds into their thought process the notion that a person seeking disability benefits will have access to some other type of program such as short term disability benefits or insurance, or savings and investments.
Item 2, of course, is interesting because it reflects A) the fact that SSA requires that a person's disabling condition be long-lasting, B) that SSA has no problem with a claimant going broke as a result of an inability to work, and C) that SSA assumes that disabled individuals have access to short term disability insurance benefits.
Note: The social security administration does not even provide short term disability benefits to its own employees.
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Individual Questions and Answers
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