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 — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Disability claims with the social security administration are filed for practically every type of physical and mental impairment. Very seldom is it the case that an SSD (social security disability) or SSI (supplemental security income) claim will be filed on the basis of a single condition.
In most cases, there will be multiple conditions listed on the disability report form (the SSA-3368 form that is submitted by the claimant at the time of filing for disability). And very often, a claim will be filed on the basis of having both mental and physical conditions (depression and degenerative disc disease, for example).
However, whether a claim is filed on the basis of a mental condition alone, or in combination with several other mental or physical conditions, the process is the same. At the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels, the disability examiner who is determining the outcome of the claim will do the following:
1. The disability examiner will Send MER letters to every single treatment source listed by the claimant at the time they have filed a claim. MER stands for medical evidence of record. The examiner will attempt to get all relevant records from every listed source, and may even attempt to get records which were not specifically listed by the claimant but which were discovered during the review of other medical records.
For example, it is not uncommon for a disability examiner to learn that a claimant was treated by a certain psychiatrist or psychologist when reading office treatment notes provided by the claimant's family doctor, or while reading an admission or discharge summary from a hospital stay.
2. The disability examiner will evaluate all the mental health and mental treatment records after they have arrived, looking for evidence that might indicate mental functional limitations. The social security administration uses a system of evaluation (for mental disability claims) that assumes a certain set of abilities must exist for a claimant to be able to perform work activity.
If these abilities do not exist in the claimant as a result of their condition, or if they possess a certain ability to a lesser extent, the claimant will be considered to have functional limitations in this area.
What are the various basic abilities which, according to SSA, a claimant must have in order to be capable of performing work activity? The most basic are the following:
A) The ability to understand, carry out, and remember simple instructions. This ability further involves certain various subsidiary abilities such as the ability to remember work locations and procedures, the ability to carry out a work routine without special supervision, the ability to maintain attention and concentration, and the ability to adhere to a defined work schedule.
B) The ability to use judgement, which includes the ability to make basic decisions related to work and the ability to be aware of dangers and hazards in the work environment.
C) The ability to respond appropriately to work situations and to other individuals in the work place such as supervisors and fellow workers.
D) The ability to respond, and adapt to, changes in the work environment.
Additional information at:
Social Security Disability and SSI Mental Claims and Criteria
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Topics and Questions
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