Overview of Disability

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Working and Disability

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Your Medical Evidence

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SSDRC Disability Blog

Does Social Security Disability Depend on Your Level of Illness or the type of Work you did?

Actually, it depends on both. With regard to "level of illness", social security isn't looking so much at the condition that has been diagnosed, but, instead, at the functional limitations that exist as a result of the condition (or medical conditions if the claimant has more than one problem).

Functional limitations and having them documented in the claimant's medical evidence of record is very important because they are compared against the mental and physical demands of a claimant's past work, as well as other work that a claimant might be thought capable of doing.

Unfortunately, the great majority of physician records...are not highly illustrative when it comes to functional capacity. Doctors write their notes for themselves and other doctors, and in keeping with this they record the information that they find useful. Typically, this does not include observations such as how long a person can sit or stand, whether or not they can stoop or crouch, what their exertional abilities might be, and so forth.

Yet, this is exactly the type of information that the social security administration is looking for. It' not hard to guess that, because doctors are not in the habit of recording notes that point to residual functional capacity, it can be difficult to get a clear opinion from them (which is why a residual functional capacity form can be so useful).

Will a social security disability or SSI disability claim depend on the type of work you did? In a sense. If your current rated limitations (rated by the disability examiner who is assigned to process your case and the medical consultant attached to the examiner's unit) exceed the demands of your past work and other types of work that social security might think you capable of doing, you can be medically approved for disability.

However, here it becomes very clear that having higher levels of job skills, or a greater level of education, or a history of less exertionally-demanding work can work against you. Why? Because your medical-vocational profile will show that either A) you can return to your past work or B) you are in a better position to do some type of work other than what you normally did. This, of course, is why attention to your work history, and having your past work history properly classified, can be very important.

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

Related pages:

Appealing a denial of Social Security Disability or SSI
How long does your condition have to last to qualify for disability?
Social Security Disability Paperwork Follow Up Call
Denied disability, can a Congressman help me?
Can you receive Medicaid if your SSI disability is stopped?
What SSA means by disabled and disability
Filing for disability with facet arthritis
Can I lose my disability benefits?
How to file for disablity in Nevada
Social Security Disability denied
Disability denied twice
How to file for disability in Alabama
SSD, SSDI, SSI impairments list
Filing for disability with psoriatic arthritis
How many times will Social Security deny you?

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

How to claim disability
Disability claim appeal status
How to get you Social Security Disability status
How does a person qualify for disability benefits?
How do you Apply for SSI?
How Much Income Can you Earn If you draw Social Security Disability?
Can you work if you get SSI?
How long will you get disability after an award notice?
If You Get Social Security Disability or SSI, Will Your Dependents Get A Check?
Social Security Disability denied
Time on a Social Security Disability Decision
How to apply for disability for a child or children
Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?
f I get disability will my children receive benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI - Retroactive Benefits Vs Back Pay Benefits
How long do you have To Be Out Of Work Before You Get Social Security Disability (SSD)?
How to file for disability and medical conditions
What Does Social Security Consider To Be a Disability?
When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?
Qualifying for disability benefits with the social security administration
How to get disability
Will I be approved for disability on my appeal?
How to appeal a disability denial