SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
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?
More questions about SSD and SSI
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
Does Your Doctor Decide If You Get Disability Benefits from Social Security or SSI?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Social Security disability involves much more than a medical opinion from your doctor. Social Security disability determinations involve medical information, vocational information (regarding your jobs), as well as an individual's age, education, and residual functional capacity (what you are able to do despite the limitations of your disabling conditions).
Your doctor cannot determine if you are disabled because your doctor does not know A) the listing criteria established in the Social Security disability handbook nor B) what vocational guidelines might affect your eligibility for Social Security disability or SSI benefits. Your doctor may feel that you are disabled from your work activity based upon a medical opinion, but medical opinions do not always establish disability.
The Social Security definition of disability clearly states that the ability to perform substantial gainful work activity has to be considered no matter what an individualís disabling condition might be.
If you are still working full time, despite the fact that you have significant medical and/or mental problems, your disability claim is likely to be denied on the basis of work activity alone.
The definition of disability for Social Security disability states that an individual must have an illness that is likely to result in death, or that they have been unable to work for twelve months, or that they are expected to be unable to work for twelve months due to a physical or mental impairment.
When Social Security makes a medical determination, they must consider all of the aforementioned factors, and, as you can see, some of the factors are not medical in nature. Which explains why your doctor cannot decide if you get disability.
However, your doctor can help your disability case by providing a treating physicianís statement (a statement from the doctor who has a history of treating you; you may have more than one of these) that includes objective medical evidence (clinical notes, testing, etc), diagnosis, response to treatment, a prognosis, and what he or she feels that you are able to do including activities that are involved in a work setting.
This statement must be thorough and somewhat detailed in order to help your disability case. It is not enough to simply write that you are totally disabled and unable to work. Social Security disability is based upon residual functional capacity rather than any certain medical or mental conditions. If your residual functional capacity is severely limited by your disabling condition or conditions, you may be approved for disability.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page