Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Does Your Doctor Decide If You Get Disability Benefits from Social Security or SSI?
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: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria