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

Can you get Disability if you are unemployable?

The answer to this question is that it depends on why you are unemployable. Let me state upfront that the SSD program (Social Security Disability) and SSI disability program revolve around the evaluation of a claimant's records in order to determine one single, solitary thing: can the claimant work?

More specifically, both disability examiners (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration levels) and administrative law judges (ALJs make decisions at disability hearings) evaluate a claimant's medical records, work history, educational records, and daily activity questionaires to learn A) whether or not a claimant can do any of the jobs they've done in the last 15 years and B) whether or not a claimant can do some form of other work.

Many individuals who file for disability will have no trouble "getting out of past work"; in other words, it is quite common for the adjudicator to evaluate their case and reach the conclusion that they can no longer do their past work. "Other work", however, is a more difficult hurdle to get past.

Why is this? Answer---other work can be nearly "anything", meaning nearly any job that exists in the national economy, regardless of whether or not the job actually exists in the state you reside in. Doesn't sound quite fair does it? It certainly is not.

Fortunately, however, there are factors that mediate this, such as---

1. The individual's education. A claimant's level of education will limit or broaden the number and types of jobs available to them.

2. The individual's current restrictions (which can be mental or physical), which are rated by the social security administration based on a review of the claimant's medical records. Obviously, a person with memory impairment will be unable to perform certain jobs, a person with vertigo or epilepsy will be unable to do work that involves heights, a person with migraines will be unable to work in environments involving odors and bright lights (since these often serve as migraine triggers).

3. The individual's work skills. More transferrable jobs mean a broader range of other work is available, whereas fewer job skills mean the opposite.

4. The individual's age. Simply put, a claimant who has attained age 50 will be evaluated under a different set of medical and vocation rules than younger individuals and claimants who have attained age 55 will be evaluated under rules that are even more favorable than this.

So, to answer the question---can you get disability if you are unemployed? Yes, if you are unable to work due to your physical or mental condition, you may possibly be approved for disability. I say "possibly" because a person may still work and apply for disability or receive disability. However, disability benefits will be awarded to the individual who has enough limitations that they can longer work and at the same time earn what is known as SGA (the amount a person may earn each month while still qualifying for disability).

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 do I apply for disability, when
Who works on your Social Security Disability or SSI case?
Mean and rude Social Security judges
Looking for a good disability lawyer
Who is eligible for SSI, how do I apply?
How to File for SSI
How long does it take to get a disability approval letter?
Applying for disability, medical conditions
Disability requirements and how to file in Florida
How do you Apply for SSI?
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?

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.