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 Disabling Does A Condition Have To Be For Social Security Disability, SSDI Benefits?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The Social Security definition of disability explains how disabling a condition has to be to receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) or SSI benefits based on disability.
The definition of disability holds that for a person to be considered disabled, they must have a medically determinable impairment that has prevented them from working and earning a substantial and gainful income for twelve continuous months; or have an impairment that is expected to prevent this for twelve months; or is expected to result in their death.
Any mental or medical condition that meets the definition is considered to be a severe impairment. However, there are many individuals with severe impairments who are working full time jobs in spite of their conditions. Social Security considers not only the severity of an individualís disabling condition but how restrictive their residual functional capacity (what they can still do even with their condition) is when making a disability determination.
Social Security establishes a monthly earnings amount that it considers to equate to substantial gainful work activity every year. If an individual is able to earn over the SGA monthly earnings amount without special work considerations (some employers allow employees to rest more, sit more, take more time off, or even let them earn their pay but produce less work), their disability claim will be denied without a being sent to a disability examiner at disability determination services for a medical determination.
Social Security uses medical records, disability questionnaires (both from the applicant and their third party contact), and any other evidence that might help them determine an individualís residual functional capacity assessment when making a disability determination.
If an individualís condition causes their capacity assessment to be so restrictive that they cannot engage in gainful work activity, they may be eligible for disability benefits.
Social Security should never be confused with partial disability programs, workmanís compensation, short-term disability, or a "percentage of loss disability program" such as veteranís disability. Social Security disability is a total disability program and that means an individualís impairment has to be so disabling that they are not able to work at a former job or at any other type of job that their age, education, and skills might make them eligible for.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
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