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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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What are the SSI disability qualifications for Adults and Children?

The SSI disability qualifications are practically identical to the disability qualifications for the Social Security Disability program. That is, they are identical in a medical sense.

Filing for SSI disability as an adult

To qualify for SSI disability, an adult claimant must be able to demonstrate, through evidence revealed in medical records (and hopefully statements from treating physicians), that he or she has at least one severe impairment. This impairment, or impairments, can be of a physical or mental nature, or both.

For social security evaluation purposes, a mental or physical impairment must be medically determinable, meaning that its existence must be documented in medical records. This, of course, rules out records obtained from nurses (such as nurse's notes) and records obtained from chiropractors, and even records from nurse practitioners and physician assistants unless they are counter-signed by a supervision physician.

Medical records, as far as the social security administration is concerned, are records obtained from acceptable treatment sources. Acceptable treatment sources might includes M.D. physicians, podiatrists, licensed optometrists (obviously, only for vision-related claims), and speech language pathologists.

Not only must an adult have a medically determinable "severe" impaiment, it must be severe enough that it makes it impossible for the individual to perform work activity at a substantial and gainful activity level (to see the current limit for SGA) for at least one full year. This means work activity involving the claimant's jobs done in the past 15 years, or other work for which the claimant might be thought capable of switching to based on age, skills, education, and remaining function (also known as residual functional capacity).

Qualifying for disability under the SSI or social security disability program means being unable to work and earn a substantial and gainful income for at least 12 months. It does not mean that a person cannot file if they are working. And it does not mean that they cannot receive disability benefits if they are working. It does mean, though, that their earnings cannot exceed the SGA limits or they will no longer be considered disabled.

Filing for SSI disability as a child

To qualify for SSI disability, a child applicant must present records that show functional limitations that distinguish the child from non-disabled children in the areas of relating with others, interacting with others, acquiring information, using information, attending to tasks, completing taskings, as well as moving about, manipulating objects, and showing care for their own health and well-being.

Standard medical records are used to evaluate child SSI disability claims. However, SSI disability applications for children also involve the evaluation of school records (such as grades, intelligence testing, achievement testing, individualized education programs, and questionaires completed by teachers).

However, in both child and adult SSI disability cases, medical record documentation will also include the reports of any examinations or special testing that social security decides to send the claimant to. These can include physical exams, intelligence testing, memory testing, and psychiatric evaluations.

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