Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
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

Will it hurt my disability claim if I am going to school?

I have a disability that significantly impairs my ability to work a job with consistent hours, but since I have some days that are better than others I am able to read and write at certain times. I am interested, therefore, in both furthering my education and filing for permanent disability. But I do not know if the SS admin would look at the fact that I am advancing my education as an impediment to my claim to permanent and total disability. I am relatively certain that my doctor would be on board with helping me file for this. But I have not found anything online about this question I have. Can you help me?

The only time that Social Security will take a person's education into consideration is when the determination is being made as to whether that individual has the ability to perform some type of other work, assuming that they can no longer perform their own past work.

Disability examiners who render decisions on disability claims for the Social Security Administration are not directed to take into consideration the fact that an individual is attempting to advance their education. This type of information would likely not even come to the attention of Social Security since disability examiners (and judges for cases that have gone to the hearing level) only examine two basic types of evidence. The first is medical evidence and the second is vocational evidence concerning one's work history.

In child disability cases and adult cases where cognitive limitations may exist, Social Security may also examine school records to look for current evidence of impairment or evidence of lifelong limitations. But, in the case of adults, this has nothing to do with continuing and ongoing education.

To use a hypothetical, if a person was applying for disability on the basis of a psychological or psychiatric impairment and it become known to the disability examiner that the claimant was successfully pursuing higher education, might that influence the examiner's determination? My guess, as a former disability examiner, is that it might...even if that was never cited or acknowledged in the actual decision. Disability determinations are supposed to be completely objective, but often a fair amount of subjectivity creeps into the process. And disability adjudicators are not immune to having biases.

I suppose one way to answer your concern is to state that Social Security will not inquire into your ongoing education and you, likewise, are not obligated to mention this fact. After all, it is ongoing and not completed and when you will finish, or if you will finish is highly speculative. Social Security is only concerned with things that exist, not things that might exist. Simply put, I am not aware of any reason to mention the fact and you are not obligated to do so.

  • 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:

    Will You Possibly Get Less Than Total Disability From Social Security?
    Social Security Total Disability
    Social Security Disability - Permanent Disability
    Can an adult who has been to college but hasn't worked for a long time get Disability Benefits?
    Mental Disability Benefits and What Social Security will Consider
    What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
    Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?
    Social Security Disability and SSI Mental Claims and Criteria

    These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

    Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
    What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
    How do you find out if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or even denied?
    Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
    How much does Social Security Disability or SSI pay?
    How does the Social Security Disability Review work?
    What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
    More differences between Social Security Disability and SSI