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

Will You Get Social Security Disability Benefits If You Cannot Work Your Old Job?

Social Security Disability is not a long-term or short-term disability program that allows disability benefits on the basis of not being able to work your old job. Social Security Disability is a total disability program that requires that an individual not be able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) at any job due to the limitations of their disabling conditions.

SGA is a monthly amount of earnings that Social Security has determined to be substantial or self-supporting. Social Security really does not care if you earned this amount at your last job, or at another job that you have performed in the past. SGA has to do with any employment that you might have while you are attempting to win disability benefits, or employment that you might have while you are receiving disability benefits.

Since Social Security Disability is based on an inability to engage in substantial gainful work activity due to a severe impairment (physical or mental impairment or both), you may able to be approved for benefits if A) you cannot work your old job, and B) you are unable to perform any other type of job with your skills and given your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of your limitations).

Social Security uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to make their medical determinations on all disability claims that do not involve an impairment that meets or equals the requirements of a Social Security impairment listing in the SSA blue book (of course, even if you meet or equal an impairment listing, meaning you would be approved for disability, you still cannot be working and earning over the SGA limit).

The last two steps of the sequential evaluation process involve past work and the ability to perform other work. If you are found to be unable to work at any of your old jobs (jobs that you did for three months or longer, had time to learn, and were paid SGA-level earnings in the past fifteen years), you move to the next step which involves an evaluation as to your ability to perform other jobs.

Disability examiners consider your residual functional capacity, age, skills, and education when determining if you have the ability to transfer your skills to another job or be re-trained for other work (note: the system does offer some advantage to individuals who are fifty-five years old or more as they are not considered good candidates for retraining).

If the disability examiner determines that you are not able to perform other work, in addition to not being able to do an old job that is part of your relevant work history, you will be able to receive disability benefits provided that you are not working and earning at least the SGA amount and, in the case of SSI disability (a need-based program), you do not have countable assets in excess of two thousand dollars.

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:

Will Social Security Decide That I can go Back to My Old Job?
Can You Apply For Disability Benefits When You Lose Your Job?
Social Security Disability and the Job that You Worked
Will You Get Social Security Disability Benefits If You Cannot Work Your Old Job?
Is Receiving Social Security Disability Based On Whether I Can Do My Current or Last Job?
Does social security contact your former work employers when you file for disability?
If I apply for disability and my doctor says I am disabled, is there a waiting period?
SSI Disability and when a claim is filed
What conditions will qualify for disability in Missouri?
How much can you get for disability in Missouri?
Disability requirements and criteria in Missouri

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.