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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

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Medical Disability - How does Social Security view your work and medical records

Nearly all Social Security medical disability and SSI disability decisions are made by considering A) your work activity over the fifteen years prior to the onset of your disability (when you stopped working due to your medical and/or mental condition) and B) the severity of your conditions, which is verified through the acquisition of the medical records you named during your Social Security disability interview.

If you do not have any current medical treatment sources, you most likely will be sent to a consultative examination by a physician (paid for by Social Security). Of course, it is always more beneficial to you if you have had some medical treatment...versus having your claim rely on a one-time examination by a doctor who has never treated you.

How does this process all work? Once you have provided Social Security with a list of your medical sources, they will send a request for records to all the hospitals, clinic, and physicians who have treated you prior to the onset of your disabling conditions (note: Social Security often develops a much longer medical history if you have provided medical sources that go further back than twelve months).

Social Security also considers the types of jobs you performed in the fifteen years prior to becoming disabled in an effort to determine if you could still perform any of your past jobs. If Social Security determines that you are unable to perform any of your past work activities, they will consider other types of work you might be qualified to perform.

What guides Social Security disability decision makers when they determine the severity of your medical conditions and what work you might be capable of performing? Social Security uses the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to determine the physical and mental requirements of various types of jobs; additionally the DOT considers the skill level a job requires.

For example, if an individual performed a job that required strong intellectual skills to perform the job, social security may allow that job to be ruled out if the individual has a mental impairment such as severe depression, anxiety, loss of mental function (i.e. stroke, head trauma, aneurysm), or any other significant mental impairment.

For many disability claimants who have jobs that do not have significant exertional requirements (it is more difficult to achieve a Social Security disability approval if your work was classified as "less than sedentary exertion", "sedentary exertion", or as "light exertion"), their job needs to be ruled out, so that Social Security can determine if their skills are transferable to any other types of jobs.

I must mention at this point that Social Security's vocational medical guidelines also consider an individual's age. Generally, individuals over fifty five have a better chance for a medical vocational approval than younger individuals. An individual's educational background is also considered when determining a personís ability to perform other types of jobs if their job has been ruled out due to medical and/or mental impairments.

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