Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?

In order to be eligible for SSI benefits or social security disability (SSD), you must demonstrate that you are a) physically or mentally disabled and b) are in financial need (unable to perform substantial gainful activity) as a result of your disability.

Those individuals applying for SSD must prove that their medical condition prevents them from earning a certain amount each month, defined by the social security administration as substantial gainful activity (SGA). In order to qualify for SSD benefits, a claimant must make no more than the current SGA amount. However, the SGA is adjusted annually by the social security administration to reflect cost of living increases/inflation.

To qualify for SSI, an applicant must demonstrate not only an inability to earn the current SGA, but must also prove that he or she has no more than two thousand dollars in assets, including any bank accounts, insurance policies, and property (other than their home). Potential SSI applicants are allowed to own only one car to get to and from work—any other vehicle is counted as an asset, and its value may prevent them from qualifying for disability benefits.

If you’re not sure if your financial status qualifies you for SSD/SSI benefits, the best thing to do is speak to claims representative (CR) at the social security office. The CR can review your assets and determine if you are qualified to receive either SSD or SSI (or both).

Assuming you qualify to receive disability benefits from a financial standpoint, your SSD/SSI case will be forwarded to a disability examiner for consideration. The disability examiner’s job is to determine if your medical condition is severe enough to prevent you from working enough to earn the current SGA.

You will be granted disability benefits only if you can demonstrate, through medical records, that your impairment is severe enough to prevent you from working for 12 months or more. Detailed documentation of your condition by your treating physician is key here, and ideally will include a description of both your symptoms and how they prevent you from performing your job (or any other job to which you may be suited).

Of course, if your application for disability is denied by the disability examiner, you can appeal the decision. This appeal, also called a request for reconsideration or review, is decided by the same agency that considered the original application, the state disability determination services (DDS) agency. And, if your appeal is denied, you have the option of requesting a hearing before an administrative judge.

The administrative law judge, or ALJ, will consider only the medical evidence (which you have supplied in your medical history), but at this level of consideration the claimant has the advantage of actually meeting, in person, the individual that will decide if he or she is eligible for social security disability benefits.

The judge will also review the claimant’s work history to see if he or she is truly incapable of performing substantial gainful activity (earning a certain amount per month).

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Related pages:

    When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?
    Who is eligible for SSI Disability?
    Disability Criteria - Eligibility For Social Security and SSI Disability
    Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?
    Social Security Disability and SSI Mental Claims and Criteria
    Can you apply for disability on the basis of multiple health problems?
    What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
    Inability to Work and Eligibility for Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits
    What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
    If You Are Currently Working Are You Eligible To Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
    Will Being A Veteran Affect Your Eligibility And Chances For Social Security Disability?
    Are SSD and SSI disability cases decided the same way in terms of Eligibility?
    Is the Medical Criteria to Get Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits hard?
    Criteria for how Social Security Disability is Awarded
    Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process

    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 answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria
    What questions does Social Security ask during your annual SSI review?
    When will I know if disability does an on the record review?
    What should I do, I was denied Social Security disability for the second time?