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 You Apply For Disability, write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You

Social Security disability determinations are supposed to encompass all of an individualís impairments and the limitations that they cause. For this reason, you should write down all of your conditions even if you do not think that a particular condition is really what is disabling to you and preventing you from working.

For example, many individuals who file a disability claim on the basis of physical impairments that cause them to have chronic pain do not consider mentioning that they are also being treated for depression or anxiety.

It is important to mention ANY mental conditions along with the physical impairment you have. Why? Because mentioning them may enable a disability examiner to rule out your ability to perform a past job that was not physically challenging but required you to stay on task, concentrate, perform complex tasks, remember instructions, etc.

Again, for example, if you are unable to perform the mental demands of your "skilled, light duty job" due to your mental condition, the disability examiner may consider you unable to perform any of your past work due to the combined limitations of your physical and mental conditions. They may find that you are unable to perform any other work in the general economy.

Winning can result from having several conditions

The simplest way to explain the importance of mentioning everything that is wrong with you is that you have no way of knowing how any of your conditions may help win your disability benefits for you.

Social Security disability examiners must determine what your residual functional capacity is and compare that to work that you have done in the past--assuming, of course, that you do not initially qualify for disability on the basis of meeting or equaling the criteria of a Social Security disability listing impairment (listings for specific medical conditions are contained in the social security disability list of impairments, known as the blue book).

Residual functional capacity is determined by looking at all of your conditions and how they limit your ability to perform routine activities of daily life including work activity.

Residual functional capacity is so important that the final steps of the five step sequential evaluation process (used in all cases where a person does not get approved on a listing) involve a determination as to whether an individualís residual functional capacity prevents them from performing any of their past work (step 4) and also precludes them from performing any other work in the general economy (step 5).

If the disability examiner determines that your residual functional capacity is so limiting that it rules out all of your past work activity and it renders you unable to transfer your skills or to be retrained for another job, you may be approved for disability benefits.

In the end, your disability claim may hinge on an impairment or condition that you do not consider as important as another disabling condition, but it may enable the disability examiner to find that you were unable to do a past job, or that you are not able to meet the demands of other work.

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

Related pages:

Should you Look at the Disability File that Social Security has on You?
How do I apply for a Social Security disability widowís claim?
Who handles my case if I apply for Social Security disability?
Social Security Disability Application Online
Can I apply for disability online?
Can I Collect Unemployment While I File For Disability Benefits (SSD or SSI)?
What medical conditions can you apply for disability for?
To Apply For SSI or SSD Disability Benefits, Where do I Start?
When You Apply For Disability, write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You
When I Apply For Disability, Should I List My Old Meds From Years Ago?
When I Apply for Disability - Should I apply for social Security disability or SSI?
What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply?
If Social Security Turns Down My Case Can I apply For Disability A Second Time?

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