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

To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?

For the social security administration to award you benefits under the SSDI (social security disability insurance) or SSI (supplemental security income) programs, your disabling condition must be considered a total disability, meaning that it must result in your condition satisfying the Social Security definition of disability.

How do you satisfy this definition? Your condition must be severe enough that it results in enough physical and/or mental limitations that you are subsequently unable to enage in work activity that earns you what SSA refers to as "substantial gainful activity".

Click to view the current: SGA earnings limit.

What types of physical and mental limitations are we referring to? In a general sense, we mean functional limitations that force a reduction in your ability to engage in normal ADLs, or activities of daily living. More specifically, however, social security will look at your ability to potentially do any of the past jobs you might have held within the past fifteen years, as long as you did the job long enough to have learned and retained the skills that are particular to that job.

If the determination is made that you cannot do any of these jobs, there is the possibility that you may find yourself qualifying for disability. However, the inability to return to past work is just the first hurdle to clear. If you cannot do your past work, you must then be found to be unable to use your education and training to do some type of other work.

The inability to do your past work and any other work while earning a substantial and gainful income are what constitutes eligibility for disability benefits from the social security administration.

However, in addition to satisfying these particular disability requirements and criteria, a claimant's disabling condition must also be considered to be one that is long-standing and practically permanent. It is for this reason that qualifying for disability means having a condition that renders a person unable to work and earn a substantial and gainful income (in the performance of a job they have done in the past, or in the performance of some type of other work that they might be able to switch to based on their vocational profile) for one full year or longer.

The durational requirement of the social security administration definition of disability means that unless a disabling condition has this impact on a person's ability to work for at least 12 months, they cannot be considered fully disabled. Moreover, as far as SSA is concerned, having a condition last this long is indicative of the probability that the condition will be permanent, or, at the very least, will last for years.

Social Security will periodically review a claimant who has been approved for disability. However, a disability review will typically occur only every few years (for most claimants, reviews will initially be set for every three or seven years, but after the first review is conducted, the majority of claims will ordinarily be reviewed only once every seven years, if even this often).

Will a claimant stand a high chance of having their benefits stopped if their disability case is reviewed? No, most claimants who have received a Social security disability award or SSI award will have their benefits continued after a review is conducted. This is because disability benefits cannot be ceased unless the medical evidence that is gathered in a review shows that medical improvement has taken place, and this is very difficult to prove in the majority of all cases.

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

Related pages:

Total Disability - Will social security try to determine if a person is totally disabled?
Will You Possibly Get Less Than Total Disability From Social Security?
To get Social security Disability or SSI do you have to have Total Disability?
Does Social Security offer Partial Disability Benefits?
How severe must your condition be to be awarded Social Security Disability or SSI?
Social Security Disability - Permanent Disability
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Filing for disability and switching to other work when you have medical problems

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