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
When I Apply For Disability, Should I List My Old Meds From Years Ago?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The Social Security definition of disability requires that a person must be able to prove that that they are currently disabled and are likely to stay that way for the forseeable future. This is why, in some respects, old medical record information is not as important as current medical evidence (though it should be made clear that older evidence will help to establish how far back it is that a person will qualify for disability benefits, which will certainly have an impact on how much disability back pay they may potentially receive, as well as when their medicare benefits might "kick in".
Qualifying for Disability and your residual functional capacity, or RFC
Disability eligibility, for Social Security disability and SSI purposes, hinges upon a concept known as residual functional capacity rather than simply being diagnosed with a specific impairment or taking certain medications.
Residual functional capacity is what an individual is capable doing in spite of the limitations of their disabling condition or conditions. Thus, disability examiners need access to current medical records from a person's hospitals and doctors in order to detemine if that person is currently disabled. It makes no difference if medical records that are dated from five months earlier substantiate a claim for disability, i.e. prove that the person was disabled five months ago. To receive a disability award, it must be proven that a person is currently disabled; therefore, the social security administration needs current records (meaning not older than 90 days).
Current Medications versus Old Medications
A disability examiner working on a claim would also need a list of current medications rather than old medications that a person is no longer taking. This is because they are supposed to consider the effects of an individualís medications, both upon their ability to engage in activities of daily living as well as upon their ability to perform substantial work activity. After all, the medications used to treat certain conditions may be even more limiting than the personís condition.
So, in answer to the question, listing current medications will be far more important than listing old medications. In fact, if your claim later goes to a hearing in front of a federal judge, your disability attorney will ask you for a list of your current meds, not your older ones.
Nonetheless, there is still some value in listing older medications when you initially file for disability. For example, if you were once given medication for anxiety or depression, but no longer take them, this can provide a tip-off to the disability examiner that you have a history of one of these illnesses that should, perhaps, be investigated, or at least given some consideration when your case is evaluated.
Having said all this, unfortunately, it was my experience as a Social Security disability examiner that, all too often, no consideration is given to the effects of an individualís medications on their ability to function normally, let alone work for that matter. Were this not the case, it is likely that attempts at qualifying for disability benefits under either the title II program (social security disability) or title 16 program (SSI disability) would be far less complicated, involve far less time, and would yield better outcomes for claimants.
It goes without saying that the system for social security disability and SSI eligibility criteria could benefit from certain alterations and improvments to the process that is currently in use.
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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