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

How does SSA decide you get disability?

The role of the "medical vocational allowance" - Probably the easiest way to define the concept, and illustrate its importance, is to describe how disability decisions get made.

Here's a short, bulleted description of the disability approval process. This description is simplified, but it should provide an understanding of what a medical vocational allowance is.

1. An individual applies for disability at a social security office.

2. The case is transferred by the social security office to a state-level agency that makes decisions on disability claims for the social security administration.

3. At this state agency, the case is assigned to a disability examiner.

4. Generally on the same day that the disability examiner receives the case, he or she sends medical record request letters out to all the various doctors, hospitals, and clinics listed by the claimant at the time of application.

5. After the medical records have been received by the examiner (this may take weeks or months), the examiner will read and evaluate them.

6. The examiner will consider whether or not the claimant has a physical or mental condition that satisfies the requirements of a listing. What is a listing? A listing is any medical or mental condition that appears in the social security impairment listing manual. Impairments that are listed in this manual are given very specific disability criteria for the purpose of approving a claim. Not every condition, however, is contained in the listing manual and even if a claimant has a listed impairment, their medical records may not meet the requirements as set forth in the manual, which can be fairly strict.

7. If a claimant's condition, or various medical conditions do not the requirements of a listing, then the disability examiner will decide what the claimant's functional limitations are (based on reading the medical records) and will record this assessment on a residual functional capacity form. The form will basically indicate what the claimant can still do and what the claimant is incapable of doing physically or mentally (separates forms are used to record mental and physical RFC assessments).

8. If the claimant's residual functional capacity is so restrictive that it makes it impossible for the claimant to do their past and also makes it impossible for the claimant to do suitable other types of work, then the claimant will be approved for disability benefits in either the Social Security Disability or SSI disability program.

9. This type of disability approval, in which a claimant's functional limitations and capacity are compared to A. the work they have performed in the past and B. other types of work they might possibly do based on age, education, and job skills, is called a medical vocational allowance.

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?

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Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability attorneys and representatives
What is the status of your Social Security Disability or SSI case
Rules and requirements to apply for disability
Will I qualify for disability?
Apply for disability for any medical condition
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
If your disability claim is approved or denied
Social Security Award letter for SSD, SSI
Temporary Social Security Disability SSI
Social Security Disability SSI reviews
How social security evaluates attention deficit
Filing for disability with Post polio syndrome
Tips for Getting Disability Approved
How far back Social Security will pay SSDI or SSI
SSI award notices are received by approved claimants
Winning and getting disability with a mental condition
Getting disability for rheumatoid arthritis
Can you work if you get Disability?
Who qualifies for SSI and how
How to file for disability and where to apply
Conditions that may qualify as disability
Denied on a disability application
Answering questions at a Social Security Disability hearing

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.