Social Security Disability Resource Center

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What medical conditions can you apply for disability for?




 
There are many medical conditions (physical or mental) that you may prevent you from working and earning enough to support yourself (this concept is known as substantial gainful activity). Consequently, you may apply for social security disability or SSI disability benefits for practically any medical condition, or any combination of medical conditions.

You can apply for Social Security disability for any disabling condition or conditions that:

1. Are medically determinable severe mental or physical impairments;

2. Prevent you from performing substantial gainful (work) activity, or SGA;

3. Have lasted twelve months, are expected to last twelve months, or may possible end in death.

The definition of disability for the purposes of a Social Security disability determination not only involves a severe debilitating mental and/or physical condition but the inability to perform SGA. The performance of SGA-level work activity is so important to the disability process that your disability claim will be denied without a medical determination (even if your condition is terminal) if you are performing SGA. Your disability claim can only proceed if you are not working, or your monthly earnings are below the monthly SGA limit.

Social Security uses a five step sequential evaluation process to make their disability determinations. The first three steps involve an SGA determination, establishing that you have a severe impairment that has lasted or is expected to last twelve continuous months, and whether or not your disabling condition meets or equals the criteria of an impairment listing.

Social Security uses a disability guidebook called the Blue Book, often referred to as the Social Security Disability list of of impairments, to establish criteria for Social Security disability based on certain medical conditions.

The Blue Book contains impairment listings for the : musculoskeletal system, special senses (vision and hearing) and speech, respiratory system ,cardiovascular system, digestive system, genito-urinary system, hemic and lymphatic system, skin, endocrine system, multiple body systems, neurological, mental disorders, neoplastic diseases, and the immune system. Each impairment listing lists the criteria needed to meet or equal the severity requirements for Social Security disability.

If your disabling condition meets or equals an impairment listing, the sequential disability evaluation process stops and you may be approved for disability benefits.

However, it is difficult to meet or equal an impairment listing; therefore the vast majority of disability claims are evaluated through steps four and five before a decision is made.

Steps four and five involve an evaluation of your ability perform substantial work activity. Disability examiners must first evaluate your ability to perform any of your past relevant work (relevant work can be any job that you performed in the past fifteen years that lasted three months or more and for which your earnings were SGA). If they determine that you can perform one of your past jobs, your disability claim will be denied at step four.

If you cannot perform any of your past work, the examiner must consider your ability to perform other types of work after considering your education, age, residual functional capacity, and job skills. If they determine you can do some other kind of work, your disability claim will be denied at step five. However if they determine you are not able do any other kind of work your disability claim may be approved through a medical vocational allowance.

For this reason, the social security administration will evaluate a claimant's work history in addition to their medical history. This is to determine what the requirements of their past jobs were. By comparing an individual's present limitations to their past work requirements, social security can gauge whether or not it is reasonable to expect a person to be able to go back to a former job.

Also, by examining a person's work history, the social security administration can determine if it is possible for an individual to seek another type of employment based on a variety of factors including their age, education and job skills.

Additional information: Medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI









  • Index of Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

  • 56 Answers to Social Security Disability SSI Questions







  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center



    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Back Pay Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    How long does it take for Social Security Disability or SSI?

    Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices




    Tips, Mistakes, How to Qualify, and How to Win Disability

    Tips and Advice for Social Security Disability and SSI Claims

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI, How to Win




    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process - How to file appeals

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney




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

    SSI Disability Benefits, Questions and Answers

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security




    Information to start with regarding Disability Claims

    An Overview of Social Security Disability and SSI

    What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

    The Disability Requirements to be eligible for SSD and SSI Benefits




    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

    Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and Impairments

    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








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    Who handles my case if I apply for Social Security disability?
    Social Security Disability Application Online
    Can I apply for disability online?
    Can I Collect Unemployment While I File For Disability Benefits (SSD or SSI)?
    What medical conditions can you apply for disability for?
    To Apply For SSI or SSD Disability Benefits, Where do I Start?
    When You Apply For Disability, write Down Everything That Is Wrong With You
    When I Apply For Disability, Should I List My Old Meds From Years Ago?
    When I Apply for Disability - Should I apply for social Security disability or SSI?
    What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply?
    If Social Security Turns Down My Case Can I apply For Disability A Second Time?
    What medical conditions get you approved for disability?
    Can you get a quick disability approval in Missouri
    How long does it take for a disability decision in missouri?
    Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Missouri?



    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.

    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