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

How Disabling Does A Condition Have To Be For Social Security Disability, SSDI Benefits?

The Social Security definition of disability explains how disabling a condition has to be to receive Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) or SSI benefits based on disability.

The definition of disability holds that for a person to be considered disabled, they must have a medically determinable impairment that has prevented them from working and earning a substantial and gainful income for twelve continuous months; or have an impairment that is expected to prevent this for twelve months; or is expected to result in their death.

Any mental or medical condition that meets the definition is considered to be a severe impairment. However, there are many individuals with severe impairments who are working full time jobs in spite of their conditions. Social Security considers not only the severity of an individual’s disabling condition but how restrictive their residual functional capacity (what they can still do even with their condition) is when making a disability determination.

Social Security establishes a monthly earnings amount that it considers to equate to substantial gainful work activity every year. If an individual is able to earn over the SGA monthly earnings amount without special work considerations (some employers allow employees to rest more, sit more, take more time off, or even let them earn their pay but produce less work), their disability claim will be denied without a being sent to a disability examiner at disability determination services for a medical determination.

Social Security uses medical records, disability questionnaires (both from the applicant and their third party contact), and any other evidence that might help them determine an individual’s residual functional capacity assessment when making a disability determination.

If an individual’s condition causes their capacity assessment to be so restrictive that they cannot engage in gainful work activity, they may be eligible for disability benefits.

Social Security should never be confused with partial disability programs, workman’s compensation, short-term disability, or a "percentage of loss disability program" such as veteran’s disability. Social Security Disability is a total disability program and that means an individual’s impairment has to be so disabling that they are not able to work at a former job or at any other type of job that their age, education, and skills might make them eligible for.

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:

How long does a disability appeal take?
How long does it take to get a disability check after approval?
How long does it take to get approved for disability?
What is considered a Disabling medical condition by Social Security?
Can you File for Disability for more than one Condition?
How Disabling Does A Condition Have To Be For Social Security Disability, SSDI Benefits?
Receiving Benefits - Your Medical Condition and Social Security Disability or SSI
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?
Receiving disability for a mental condition in North Carolina
What condition or conditions qualifies for disability in North Carolina?
Social Security Disability Approvals - Medical Conditions and Getting Approved
Disability Attorney did not advise filing an appeal - onset date issue
Social Security Disability For Back Condition pain in California
How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?
Disability requirements and criteria in California

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.