Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Is there a trick to qualifying for disability benefits with social security?

No, no matter how many articles you may read that state otherwise, there is no trick to qualifying for disability benefits. The social security disability system is very plain and matter of fact with regard to how an individual may or may not qualify. And basically, the evaluation process for benefits comes down to two different sets of criteria.

1. Medical - Do your medical and/or mental health records indicate that you have one or more severe impairments. To qualify for SSD (social security disability) or SSI (supplemental security income), an individual must have at least one impairment that is considered to be severe.

What is severe, of course, may be a matter of subjective opinion. Obviously, a sprained elbow would not be considered a severe disability, while a respiratory condition or depression could easily be considered a severe impairment. Is the existence of one or more severe impairments enough to qualify a person for disability benefits?

Not necessarily. Not only must a condition be simply "severe", it must be severe enough to prevent an individual from having the ability to engage what the social security administration refers to as substantial and gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity, SGA, is work activity that is performed at a certain monetary level each year.

2. Work Activity - This is the second set of criteria that determines whether or not a person may qualify for disability benefits with the social security administration. If an individual has a severe impairment (or multiple severe impairments) and the impairment is severe enough to prevent the individual from working and earning whatever the SGA earnings limit is for the given, and this situation persists for at least a full calendar year (12 months), then the individual may be considered by the social security administration to be disabled.

On the other hand, if a person has one or two or three severe impairments yet can still engage in work activity and at the same time earn at least whatever the SGA earnings limit is for the given year, then the individual cannot be considered disabled by the social security administration.

SSD and SSI really comes down to the information that is contained in an applicant's medical records, but the determination is also affected by evidence of an applicant's work ability. Of course, evidence of an applicant's ability to work can be inferred by the information contained in an applicant's medical records (for example, the applicant's medical records may directly or indirectly state that the applicant can engage in a full range of daily activities) or can be obtained directly by the mere fact that the applicant is actually engaged in work activity during the time that their disability application or disability appeal is being processed.

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

Related pages:

How long for a disability judge to make a decision?
While you are in your disability interview
Possible to file for Temporary Disability Income through Social Security?
Exercise can prevent disability from arthritis
Denied for disability with degenerative disc disease
Disability from IBS and other conditions
Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
How long will an SSI or SSDI disability claim take?
Social Security Award Letter and being due a substantial back pay amount
Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and arthritis in my hands qualify for disability?
Will working part-time affect my SSD?
The SSD and SSI definition of disability
How to file for disability in Virginia VA
How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?
Can you file for disability for a triple bypass

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

Getting a disability approval
How to appeal disability denial
Disability hearing results
Helpful tips for going to social security disability hearing
SSDI hearing decision
Denied social security disability now what
Social security disability appeal status
Social security disability appeal attorney fees
I was denied social security disability for the 2nd time
What happens after a disability hearing has been held
How long does a Social Security Disability judge have to make a ruling?
The Social Security Disability Blue book
How to get an SSDI reconsideration approved?
Conditions that get approved for disability
Social security disability back pay status
Denied social security disability appeal
What to say at a disability hearing
Filing for disability with fibromyalgia
Tips for applying for disability