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
Ask a question, get an answer
What are the SSI disability qualifications for Adults and Children?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
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
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews