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 a Social Security Disability denial based more on your medical or work history?

Denials on Social Security Disability and SSI disability claims are based on both an individual's medical history and work history as well.

A claimant's medical records will allow a disability examiner (examiners are the individuals who make decisions on disability claims for the social security administration at an agency known as DDS, or disability determination services) to establish the following facts:

A) A diagnosis, thus an origin, of a condition.

B) A history of corroborative evidence, such as bloodwork, imaging scans (xrays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasound, etc), physical examination, and special testing.

C) A history of response to treatment, including the claimant's response to prescribed medication.

D) A prognosis of the condition (i.e. where is it all leading to)

and hopefully,

E) Indications in the treatment notes regarding the claimant's physical and/or mental limitations so that these limitations can be used to rate the RFC, or residual functional capacity, of the claimant (for the purpose of evaluating the disability claim).

The claimant's work history will allow a disability examiner to determine what a claimant's job skills are and what the demands (both physical and mental) of their past work was. It will also allow the examiner to determine, based on the claimant's age and rated limitations (again, both physical and mental), what other types of work they might be capable of performing if their condition does not allow them to return to one of their former jobs (from within the past 15 years, which the social security administration refers to as the "relevant period").

Because Social Security Disability and SSI disability claims are based on both types of information--from the work history and medical treatment history--the decisions that are reached are considered to be medical and vocational. In fact, the most common type of approval that is made is known as a "medical vocational allowance (most cases that are approved are approved via a medical vocational allowance).

How exactly is a medical vocational allowance granted? In short, this type of approval occurs when the disability examiner (or an administrative law judge if the claim is at the hearing level) has evaluated all of the medical records that have been gathered from all the doctors, clinics, and hospitals that have provided treatment to the claimant.

Using these records, the examiner will gauge what the claimant' residual functional capacity is (the RFC, in simplest terms, is what a person is still capable of doing despite their illness) and then compare the claimant's limitations to what was required of them in their various former jobs.

If the claimant is judged to be incapable of going back to one of their former jobs, the examiner will then consider whether or not their skills and training would allow them to do some type of other work, given the physical or mental limitations that they possess. If the examiner concludes that they cannot switch to some type of other work, they will be awarded 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?

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?

Related pages:

Social Security Disability and cerebral palsy
How much does disability pay?
What does Social Security Disability SSI pay, how much?
Social Security Disability SSI reviews
Temporary Social Security Disability SSI
How to qualify for disability with depression
If you apply for disability in New Mexico
Getting a Disability Lawyer in New Mexico

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

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.