What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?

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.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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