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

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.

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?

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While you are in your disability interview
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Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
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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

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.