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
Disability Denials and Filing 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 Back Pay and the disability award notice
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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CAN YOU APPLY FOR DISABILITY ON THE BASIS OF MULTIPLE HEALTH PROBLEMS?
You may apply for Social Security disability (or SSI disability) on the basis of one health problem or many health problems. Functionality is the actual determining factor for Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits, meaning that the specific mental or physical impairment may not be as important as the limitations caused by the impairment.
In other words, how the conditions affect your ability to perform daily activities especially activities that are associated with work is more important than what your conditions are.
The definition of a disability for Social Security Disability or SSI purposes is as follows: a severe impairment, either physical or mental, that can be documented by medical evidence, or that has prevented your ability to perform work that is self supporting (SGA, or substantial gainful activity). Substantial gainful work activity is a monthly earnings amount that Social Security considers self-supporting.
As far as Social Security is concerned, a disability can be one medical condition or many medical conditions. However, disability applicants alleging disability on the basis of multiple health problems rather than a single severe physical impairment may have a harder time being approved for disability especially at their initial disability claim or reconsideration appeal.
Social Security uses a disability handbook that contains social security impairment listings for all body systems. These listings provide the criteria needed to meet the severity requirements of the Social Security disability or SSI program. If a person has a disabling condition that does meet or equal the criteria of an impairment listing, they may be approved for disability benefits. It is more difficult to be approved on the basis of multiple heath conditions or impairments that do not meet or equal the criteria of any impairment listing.
However, if you do not satisfy the requirements of a listing, you may still be approved for disability if your condition or conditions severely restrict your functional capacity. This occurs through a through a medical vocational allowance. Medical vocational allowances are based upon residual functional capacity, education, age, and the transferability of your job skills.
If your multiple health problems cause you to have a residual functional capacity that is so restricted that it prevents you from doing any of your past work or any other kind of work you may be approved for disability benefits.
In summary, you can most certainly apply for disability on the basis of multiple health problems and be approved for disability benefits. However, it is a little more difficult to receive an approval for benefits especially at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels.
Your chances of being approved for disability ability benefits will usually improve at an administrative law judge disability hearing. Administrative law judges are not strictly bound by the criteria outlined in the disability handbook. They are allowed more flexibility to interpret the vocational rules and the criteria outlined in the impairment listings of the disability guidebook.
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