Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

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 individualís 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 individualís residual functional capacity assessment when making a disability determination.

If an individualís 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, workmanís compensation, short-term disability, or a "percentage of loss disability program" such as veteranís disability. Social Security disability is a total disability program and that means an individualís 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.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    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

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    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.

    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