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

Does Social Security Depend on Your Illness or the kind of Work that You Did?

Disability examiners take into account both your level of illness and the type of work you have performed in the past when deciding a claim for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits

There is no specific illness guaranteed to qualify you for disability, because examiners do not focus on the specific symptoms or limitations but rather on how these symptoms prevent the claimant from performing current or past work, or any other work.

Because disability examiners rely so heavily on medical records and past work to make their decisions, it is very important provide specific and accurate information on both the medical history and work history that you provide with your initial application.

Even if you have been under a physician’s care for many years, do not assume that your medical records will be enough to be approved for disability, because often they are not. Although physician notes usually include the initial diagnosis and information about your symptoms and how they have progressed (prognosis), they are rarely specific as to how these symptoms impact your ability to work. They are created by physicians for themselves and for other physicians who need to understand your medical needs.

Unlike physicians, a disability examiner’s job is not to treat your illness, but to determine if you are ill enough to prevent you from participating in substantial gainful work activity (which basically means earning a certain amount each month: Current SGA limit amount).

Thus, having your physician complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) statement for your case could really strengthen your claim. An RFC rating can be a typed or handwritten statement or a form that is a simple check-off list indicating the activities a patient can or cannot perform. The term residual functional capacity is used by Social Security to refer to physical or mental limitations an applicant for disability faces due to his or her level of illness.

The type of work you did in the past can definitely affect the examiner’s decision, depending on your illness. For instance, if you have always performed physically demanding labor in the past, the inability to lift, crouch, stoop, stand for long periods of time, etc., could prevent you from performing your past work or any other similar type of work.

Likewise, if you have always worked in jobs that require a high degree of cognitive functioning and suddenly lose the capacity to concentrate due to a mental or physical illness, you might qualify for SSD or SSI disability benefits based on the fact that you cannot perform past jobs or any other work that requires these skills.

In general though, educated individuals, those with a history of working at less physically demanding jobs, and those with a higher level of job skills have a harder time getting approved for disability. These people are usually determined to be more capable of finding, or being trained for other types of employment. But this is not to say that someone in a position like this cannot win a disability claim. It will usually mean a hearing, however, involving a an attorney who presents a prepared case before a federal administrative law judge.

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?
Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?
Will having a terminal illness guarantee an approval for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Can I Receive More Social Security Disability If I Get Another Condition Or Illness?
Criteria used by disability examiners to make a decision on a case
How are Decisions on SSDI and SSI Disability Claims made by SSA?
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions – What Is the Rate of Approval?
What is the time frame for a judge to make a decision for a disability hearing?
How long does the administrative law judge take to make a decision on an SSD or SSI disability case?
The Time Involved on a Social Security Disability Decision
Social Security Disability, back pain, and sedentary, light, and medium work
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in New York
Getting a Disability Lawyer in New York
How do Disability Lawyers in New York get paid their fees?

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.