Social Security Disability Resource Center
How a Social Security Disability or SSI award is made?
Social Security disability benefits are awarded through a sequential disability evaluation process. Social Security uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to determine if an individual is disabled. If Social Security finds you are disabled or not disabled at any step, they make a decision, or determination, and do not go to the next step. The five steps are basically as follows:
1) Social Security determines if you are engaging in work activity that is considered to be substantial gainful activity. If you are performing work activity that is considered to be SGA, your disability claim will be denied at this point.
2) The second step is determining the severity of an individual's medical or mental impairment, or combination of medical and mental impairments. If you do not have a medically determinable impairment (evidenced by objective medical findings) that is severe and meets the durational requirements (has lasted twelve months or is expected to last twelve months) your disability claim will be denied.
3) Social Security considers the severity of your medically determinable impairment. If your impairment meets or equals the criteria set forth in an impairment listing and you meet the duration requirement, you will be found disabled.
4) Social Security evaluates your residual functional capacity (what you are able to do in spite of the limitations caused by your impairment) and your past work (types of work that your performed at an SGA level for three months or more). If Social Security determines you are able to do any of your past relevant work (relevant work being work performed during the prior 15 years) you are found not disabled.
5) If you are not able to do your past relevant work, Social Security must determine if there is any "other work" that you are able to perform considering your residual functional capacity, age, education, and work experience. If Social Security determines that you are not able to make an adjustment to other work your disability benefits will be awarded.
However, all of this is not really so complex. Because it simply boils down to this: if a claimant's condition is severe enough to have lasted 12 months, or severe enough that it will be thought to eventually last 12 months, and is also severe enough to prevent the claimant from working at one of their former jobs, or at some suitable type of other work, while earning a substantial and gainful income...they will be considered disabled and may be awarded Social Security disability benefits.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability and SSI Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
How long does it take for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Tips, Mistakes, How to Qualify, and How to Win Disability
Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI, How to Win
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process - How to file appeals
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
SSI Disability Benefits, Questions and Answers
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Information to start with regarding Disability Claims
An Overview of Social Security Disability and SSI
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
The Disability Requirements to be eligible for SSD and SSI Benefits
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and Impairments
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
The SSDRC Disability Blog
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
Getting disability in North Carolina
How to find out if approved for disability?
How to File for SSI
How long does it take to get a disability approval letter?
Disability requirements and how to file in Pennsylvania
What Happens When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application?
Applying for disability, medical conditions
How do you Apply for SSI?
Social Security Disability, SSI, chiropractors, and evidence
Bad Social Security Disability advice
Social Security Disability SSI, drug and alcohol use and abuse
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security 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
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