How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

The two criteria used by disability examiners to make a decision on a case

Disability examiners who make decisions for Social Security will reject or deny a claim based on two main criteria: 1) Does the applicant have a serious, ongoing physical or mental condition (with no expectation of improvement over a period of 12 months); and 2) Does the applicant’s condition prevent him from performing past work, or any other work, given his work history and current limitations.

In order to determine the severity and nature of an applicant’s medical condition, a disability examiner requests medical records from all medical treatment sources listed on the disability report form that is completed at the time of application.

If you are filing for disability, be sure to include the correct contact information for all individuals or facilities from which you have received medical treatment. Disability examiners sometimes have to request records from physicians repeatedly before receiving them, and the process is only delayed further when they are working with incorrect addresses or phone numbers.

After receiving your medical records, a disability examiner will review them and determine if your condition meets a listing in the official disability book of impairments, “Disability Evaluation under Social Security.”

This book is commonly referred to as the “blue book”, the listing book, and the "Social Security Disability list of impairments". It lists criteria that must be met to establish that the applicant has an impairment that Social Security recognizes as a disability. There are listings for both children and adults, and some claims are approved on the basis of meeting a listing alone, though this is not typical.

When a disability application is approved, it is because, although the individual does not have a condition that meets any of the listings, the limitations caused by his physical or mental condition are such that he is unable to participate in substantial, gainful employment. Approvals that are granted on this basis, rather than on the basis of meeting a blue book listing, are called medical vocational allowances.

Before approving a medical vocational allowance, the disability examiner must determine your residual functional capacity. The residual functional capacity evaluation is a form that lists specific physical or cognitive tasks that you are still capable of performing, based on the information in your medical records.

After determining your RFC, the disability examiner looks at your particular medical vocational profile with the purpose of determining if you are still capable of performing work, either at a job you have performed in the past 15 years, or a job that you could be expected to perform given your job skills, age, education, etc., and at which you could earn at least the current substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount each month.

You will be approved for SSD or SSI if a disability examiner or judge decides that your condition is severe enough to prevent you from performing past work or any other work, but this is not an easy hurdle to pass. “Other work” can be any type of work, even if this job is not really an option in your particular state or locality.

A large percentage of applications and reconsideration appeals are denied by disability examiners based on the claimant's ability to perform “other work”. However, the chances of approval rise at the level of a disability hearing held by an administrative law judge.

That is why it is important for those who are truly in need of disability benefits to continue to appeal until they have the chance to appear in person before a judge. Over half of all disability denials are overturned by disability judges.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Can your doctor get you approved for disability?
When does Social Security send you to an xray?
Does my doctor decide if I am disabled?
How long does it take to get a decision on Social Security Disability or SSI?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal is Made
How Quickly Is The Disability Claim Decision Made?
Is Social Security required to make a decision on a disability case in a certain time period?
Social Security evaluates work history when making disability decisions
Social Security Disability decisions use two main criteria
Disability decisions are based on functional limitations
Factors affecting how long a Social Security decision letter takes
How Long Will it Take To Get a Disability Decision Letter from Social Security?
Avoid delays to reduce how long does it take to get a disability decision
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Alabama
How long can it take to get disability in Colorado?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.