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
Qualifications for SSI and Social Security Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
In claims where at least one condition is judged to be severe, the disability examiner or judge will determine whether or not the claimant's condition is severe enough to keep them from engaging in work activity while earning at least a substantial and gainful income.
Remember that for social security administration purposes, a claimant is allowed to work and earn income while either apply for disability or receiving disability. However, for such individuals, the qualications criteria mandates that their condition must be severe enough that, although they can work, they cannot earn at least a substantial and gainful income (to see the definition of this, see SGA).
If a person has a severe condition that prevents them from earning a substantial and gainful income, will it result in their being given a social security disability award (or SSI award as the case may be)?
Not necessarily. The impact of a claimant's condition on their ability to work must last for at least one full year. And even if the individual is awarded disability benefits, they will still periodically undergo a review of their claim to determine if they are still disabled.
This is because the social security administration views disability as "permanent disability". And currently the benchmark for determining if a condition is permanently disabling is to see if it has lasted a full year, or, through a projection, determining if it will last a full year.
How does a disability examiner or a disability judge determine whether or not a claimant's condition will be severe enough to prevent substantial and gainful work activity for at least one full year?
To some extent, this is a subjective call. It certainly always relies on the information that is recorded in the claimant's medical records. Unfortunately, most medical records do little to document the following:
A) If a claimant's condition is disabling;
B) What limitations and physical and mental restrictions result from the claimant having a particular condition;
C) How long the condition will last;
D) What impact the claimant's condition will have on their ability to engage in normal daily activities, including work activity.
Because most doctor's notes do not provide this type of information in any abundance (if at all), it is generally wise for a claimant (or the claimant's disability lawyer if they have one) to try to obtain a detailed statement from a doctor.
Such statements are often ignored by disability examiners who do not give a claimant's treating physician the proper weight; however, at a disability hearing an administrative law judge will generally pay close attention to a physician's statement if it is detailed and essentially conforms to the information recorded in that same doctor's treatment notes.
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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