Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

When is a Person Considered Fully Disabled by Social Security?

After you file for disability, your case will be evaluated by a disability examiner, a case processing specialist at an agency known as DDS, or disability determination services.

DDS is a state-level agency that is responsible for making the decision on a disability application, as well as the decision on a reconsideration (the request for reconsideration is the first appeal in the process and it is filed after an initial claim, or disability application, has been denied). Decisions at disability hearings, of course, are made by federally appointed administrative law judges, or ALJs for short.

The social security evaluation process that is conducted by a disability examiner can be quite lengthy and can take several weeks to several months. Typically, most claims at the application level will be decided in under 120 days. The process employed by the disability examiner will involve a review of the claimant's medical evidence and their work history if they are an adult.

If the applicant is a minor-age child (meaning that they would be filing under SSI disability), the evaluation process will still include a review of the medical evidence, but also a review of whatever academic and testing records may exist for the child, including grade reports, IQ testing, and achievement testing.

For either an adult applicant or a child who is filing for disability, the goal of the disability examiner will be decide whether or not the individual, as a result of their condition, has enough functional limitations such that they cannot engage in a normal range of daily activities. More specifically, this will mean for adults the ability to engage in work activity and for children the ability to engage in age-appropriate activities relative to same-age peers.

Being considered fully disabled by social security essentially means the inability to do these things. In the case of adults, the disability criteria can be described in the following detail:

1. The condition must be severe enough that it will render the claimant unable to work and earn a substantial and gainful income. This will include the inability to work at past jobs that are relevant as well as work in other types of employment that utilize one's skills and education.

2. The condition must be severe enough that it lasts a minimum of one full year while imposing functional limitations that prevent work activity.

Satisfying these conditions is required to be considered fully disabled by the social security administration. SSA does not offer the option of qualifying for disability benefits under a partial disability or limited disability option. To meet the social security definition of disability, an individual must be totally disabled and unable to work and their disabling condition must be considered somewhat permanent (approved cases are subject to undergoing disability reviews periodically, though the majority of post-approval case reviews are done every seven years).

Continued at: How is the determination for disability made by the social security administration?

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

If Am Medically Disabled, Can Social Security Still Turn Me Down for Disability for Some Reason?
How will Social Security find you disabled?
When is a Person Considered Fully Disabled by Social Security?
Being Determined Medically Disabled for Social Security Disability
How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled Or Not?
What makes you disabled for SSD, Social Security Disability Benefits, OR SSI?
How Disabled Must You be to get Social Security Disability Approved?
How Disabled Do You Have To Be To Collect Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I apply for disability and my doctor says I am disabled, is there a waiting period to receive benefits?
Will my Social Security Disability check be lowered by a pension?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria