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
What does the social security administration definition of disability actually say?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
What does the social security administration definition of disability actually say? To be considered disabled by SSA, for either social security disability or SSI disability benefits, a person must:
1. Have a severe impairment that is medically documented.
2. The impairment must either have lasted for a full year or be projected to last for a full year.
3. The impairment must be severe enough to prevent the individual from working and earning a substantial and gainful income, or SGA, while doing either one of their former jobs (which could potentially be any of their past work performed within the last 15 jobs), or while doing some type of other work that they might be suited for based on their age, job skills, education, and functional capacity.
So, to recap, to qualify for disability benefits with SSA, your condition must satisfy a one year requirement. It must last this long, or be thought to eventually last this long. The severity of the condition must also rule out the ability to work at a certain level, which is the SGA earning level (see the link in the preceding paragraph to see how SGA is defined). If a condition is this severe, a person may qualify for SSD benefits or qualify for SSI disability benefits.
Proving this level of severity, of course, depends on both the information in the claimant's medical records and on properly presenting the case (particularly at a disability hearing where the burden of gathering evidence and statements from physicians falls entirely upon the claimant and/or their disability attorney). Many claimants are surprised to learn this because at the disability application level, the social security administration, through a disability examiner who has been assigned to the case, will gather records from all the treatment sources indicated by the claimant on the application. This is also what happens when a different disability examiner processes the claimant's request for reconsideration appeal.
At the hearing level, though, social security does not obtain evidence on behalf of the case. And many claimants who choose to go to their hearing unrepresented do not learn or realize this fact until they actually show up at the hearing office; whereas claimants who have representation will typically have had updated records submitted to the administrative law judge before the hearing occurs.
And, often, a claimant's attorney will continue to work on obtaining additional medical evidence in the form of records or physician statements if such evidence will bolster a case and improve the chances of winning benefits.
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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