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Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Social Security Disability, SSI and more than one medical problem




 
It is actually somewhat rare for someone filing a disability application to list only one physical or mental impairment. In most cases, an applicant will cite more than one condition whose symptoms contributes to their state of disability.

Does it affect your disability claim if you have more than one medical problem? From the standpoint of a disability examiner (disability examiners work in the state agencies that handle initial SSD and SSI disability claims for the social security administration), whether an applicant lists one condition or several makes no real difference at all.

This is simply because the way SSA disability claims are decided, the emphasis is on what a claimant is still capable of doing despite the limitations that are caused by their condition (or conditions). Therefore, what a claimant has, i.e. diagnosed medical problems, is not the overriding factor in the the evaluation process.

And, of course, since disability examiners and the social security disability system itself are intently focused on the concept of residual functional capacity, what a disability examiner looks for when reviewing medical records has more to do with objective signs of limitations versus names of conditions. And this information is then translated into an assessment that is labeled as RFC, or residual functional capacity.

Now, you may have noticed the mention of the word "objective" and if you've read this site before you may recall the assertion that was made regarding objectivity. In essence, the statement was that the social security disability and SSI disability decision-making process is not objective, but, instead, subjective.

How do you turn objective evidence into subjective decision-making? Basically, the same way a referee makes a call in a game. What happens during a play is objective. How the referee sees it and calls it, though, is subjective.

In other words, though a disability claimant's medical records may be objectively stated, how the records are interpreted depends on the reviewer. And this, of course, is one of the chief problems of disability adjudication: there is a huge disconnect between cases that are decided at DDS and cases that are decided at disability hearings.








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








Related pages:

Eligibility Requirements and Criteria to Qualify
Cases decided at DDS
Am I eligible for disability?
Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI
Application Requirements For Disability



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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?
Filing and applying for disability in Texas