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 ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
How Disabled Do You Have To Be To Collect Social Security Disability or SSI?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI) are considered total disability programs.
Having said that, it does not mean an individual can have no earnings to collect disability from one of the Social Security administration's disability programs. The Social Security definition of disability states that a condition is disabling if it is a medically determinable physical impairment or mental impairment that has prevented an individual from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) for twelve continuous months; is expected to prevent an individual from performing SGA for twelve continuous months; or is expected to result in death.
So what is substantial gainful activity and how does it affect an individualís ability to collect disability? SGA is a monthly earnings amount that Social Security considers self-supporting and if an individual is earning over the SGA monthly amount their disability claim will be denied prior to being sent for a medical decision. Each year, Social Security determines what the monthly SGA amount will be, so if an individual is planning on filing for disability and they are working they should check with Social Security to determine if their earnings are too high.
Social Security differentiates their disability program from other disability programs such as VA disability, short term, or even long term disability in that it does not consider partial disability (as in VA disability) or being disabled from a certain job (as in long or short disability) as being disabled for Social Security purposes.
Individuals who apply for disability with Social Security must go through a five-step sequential evaluation process that determines:
A) If an individual is performing SGA level work activity;
B) If they have a medically determinable mental or medical condition;
C) What the severity of their condition is;
D) If this condition prevents the individual from working at any of their relevant past work or doing any other type of work as it is performed in the general economy considering the limitations of their disabling condition or conditions. Note: for past work to be considered by social security to be "relevant" and possibly a job that a person can return to, it must have been done sometime in the last 15 years for three months or longer while earning at least the SGA earnings amount.
Essentially, to be considered disabled by the social security administration, an individual must have a condition that is severe enough that they cannot work for twelve months or longer (at one of their former jobs, or doing any kind of other work that their skills and education might suit them for) while earning at least the SGA earnings amount.
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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