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

Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications - What is the examiner looking for?

Disability examiners at Disability Determination Services (the state agency responsible for making Social Security Disability determinations) comb through thousands of medical records each year looking for two things: A) objective medical evidence of the severity of alleged impairments as well, as any other impairments not alleged in the disability claim and B) statements as to a disability applicant's functional ability or limitations.

The latter is usually difficult to find as most treating physicians do not include functional capacity evaluations or even statements as to what their patient’s specific limitations are. Most statements, if any, are fairly general and do not carry much weight in a disability determination.

This is why the disability examiner working on your disability claim will most likely request that you and your third party (an individual your named during your disability application as someone who knows about your condition and how it affects you) complete an activities of daily living questionnaire (your third party contact person completes a third party questionnaire). These questionnaires are used in conjunction with objective medical information to give the disability examiner an idea of your functional limitations.

While disability examiners go through medical records looking for information as to the severity of impairments and functional capacity, they are also looking at work history. Since Social Security Disability involves having a severe medical or mental impairment (or impairments as is usually the case) and an inability to perform substantial work activity (SGA).

Disability examiners are also looking for your relevant work history. Relevant work history is anything in the past fifteen years that involved SGA-level work activity, lasted three months or more, and that an applicant had time to learn the job.

The work information you supplied during your disability interview is most likely not very thorough if you had more than one job in the past fifteen years. As a general rule, you will be sent a work history report form to complete (describe your job duties thoroughly, being careful to give an accurate assessment of the mental and physical demands of each job).

This form allows you to describe many past jobs as you performed them. The disability examiner must look at each of your relevant jobs and determine if you could go back to any of those jobs considering your current limitations or residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of your limitations).

If they find you are unable to perform any of your past relevant work, they must then consider your ability to do any other kind of work activity given your residual functional capacity, age, education, and job skills.

If the examiner determines that you are unable to perform any other kind of work, you may be approved for SSDI or SSI disability benefits.

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:

Qualifications for Disability Benefits
SSI disability qualifications for Adults and Children
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
If you apply for disability in Alabama
Will I qualify for disability Alabama
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications - What is the examiner looking for?
Social Security Disability Attorney Qualifications and Expenses
What are the disability qualifications in North Carolina?
Does Social Security take into consideration gross earnings or net earnings?
Will working part-time affect my SSD?

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.