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

What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) and SSI benefits, you must first be able to demonstrate that you 1) have a disability that prevents you from performing your current work and 2) that this disability would also prevent you from performing in any other position for which you may otherwise be qualified, depending on your individual abilities, age, and limitations.


1. What does SSA consider a severe impairment for Social Security Disability or SSI Disability Benefits?

2. When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?

3. When is a Person Considered Fully Disabled by Social Security?

To prove your disability, you must supply social security with both your medical history and your work history. The information in your medical and work histories must be accurate.

What you need to document

You need to document the first time you received medical treatment for your condition, the name and contact information of the attending physician, diagnosis, any medications prescribed, etc. The first date of treatment is particularly important because in the event you are approved for disability, you may be awarded back pay.

You must also provide medical records that show you are still under a doctor’s care for your condition, and are currently disabled. If you have not been receiving proper medical care because you lack medical insurance, call your county health department or social services office for a list of walk-in clinics or doctors that treat patients on a sliding scale, according to their need.

Likewise, be sure to provide a complete job history, including dates of employment and duties performed in each position. Do not leave it up to the disability examiner to determine what tasks were associated with your work—you may end up pronounced fit to perform a job for which you are not qualified and have no past experience performing.

The listings

It is true that social security does have a manual that lists the criteria of specific impairments for which disability is approved, commonly called the “blue book.” However, there are many illnesses and disorders for which disability is commonly granted that do not have a specific listing in the book, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, Lyme disease, etc.

Ultimately your disability status will be determined by your medical symptoms and how well you are able to document those symptoms and how they prevent you from being able to meet your financial needs by obtaining work in your current position, or any other work capacity for which you might otherwise be qualified.

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 does social security figure out what to pay a disability attorney?
How many people get approved for disability from Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and mental condition diagnosis
Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
Waiting for a Hearing to be Scheduled before an ALJ, Administrative Law Judge
Appearing at the ALJ Hearing for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits
Applying for disability, medical conditions
How long can you receive SSI or Social Security Disability benefits?

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

What Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Disability for a mental condition
Tips for Filing for disability
Financial Help Filing For Disability
Checklist for filing for disability, SSI or SSD
Qualifying for disability benefits, how to qualify for SSD or SSI
Filing a disability application: the steps
Disability award notice, how long it takes to get benefits
How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go?
What makes you eligible to get disability?
How to check my disability claim status?
Can a disability attorney speed up a disability case?
SSI disability Award Letter
How long to get approved for disability?
How to apply for disability benefits
How long does disability back pay take?
What are qualifications for getting disability?
What medical conditions can you file disability for?
Disability Lawyer help questions
Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives

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.