Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

How will Social Security Determine if you get Disability Benefits?

When the social security administration assesses one's eligibility for disability benefits, it doesn't look so much at the condition, but, instead, at the functional limitations that are caused by the condition.

After those functional limitations (which can be mental or physical or both) are rated on something known as an RFC, or residual functional capacity, form, then the limitations are viewed against the requirements of whatever past work the claimant did. If the decision is made that the claimant cannot return to their past work, then the decision is made as to whether or not they can do some type of other work.

Again, the claimant's rated mental or physical limitations are used to make the decision. However, in the case of deciding whether or not a person can do other work, the social security administration will also consider various factors which will, logically, have an impact on a person's ability to switch off to new employment, such as how old they are, their level of education, and the level of their job skills, taking into consideration if those skills will transfer to other types of jobs.

The decision on a disability claim boils down to what a person can do--or can no longer do. Though we usually refer to the decisons issued by judges and examiners as medical decisions, this is really just half of the explanation because the decision is really medical and vocational in nature.

This is because the fundamental question is: Can the person still work? And the subsets to this are: Can they still do one of their old jobs? If not, can they can do some other job?

This is exactly why the condition you have is not the most important thing. It is really the effect the condition has on your ability to work. And this is measured by --

1. Reviewing your medical records to see how limited you are.

2. Reviewing your work history to see what you did in the past, and what skills you have.

The process is actually pretty plain, but what you need to do is make sure that SSA has access to all your medical records. Be sure to give them all your medical treatment sources. That includes your current ones and older ones. This is because SSA needs to determine if you are currently disabled, but they also need to determine how far back your disability goes so that they can determine how much disability back pay you may be eligible to receive.

Also, be sure to give them good descriptions of your past jobs, including job titles and explanations of what you did on the job. This is because SSA will try to identify your job and use the information in the federal database (currently the DOT, or dictionary of occupational titles) to understand what you did on your job. Obviously, this information will be used to see if you have the physical and mental capability of going back to your old employment, or have the skills to do something else.

Repeat: giving social security an accurate and detailed description of your past work is very important as it can help you get approved sooner versus later. In actuality, there are many many disability cases that drag on needlessly for many months simply because a claimant did not supply the information that could have helped a decision maker on a case approve the claim.

And, in reality, this is sometimes the chief benefit of having representation on a social security claim. A good representative will help ensure that the case is developed properly and that obvious mistakes are not made.

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

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

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How Does A Social Security Disability Examiner Determine a Personís Functional Limitations?
How does Social Security determine if I am disabled or not?
How are medical records and work history used to determine a Social Security Disability claim?
How will Social Security Determine if you get Disability Benefits?
How to go back on disability after trying to work again
Can you draw Social Security Disability on a spouse's Social Security earnings record?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Georgia
Denied Disability Appeal Georgia

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, 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 homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.