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
How does Social Security Disability Decide if you can Work or Not?
An SSDI (social security disability insurance) or SSI disability claim will be determined on the basis of what an applicant's medical records have to say about their condition.
The records are requested by a disability examiner so that the examiner can determine the following: A) what physical or mental limitations, or restrictions, the individual possesses and B) whether or not those limitations make it impossible for the individual to engage in normal activities of daily living, specifically the ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income.
This is, of course, a simplified statement of what occurs on a disability case. For example, in addition to gathering the needed medical evidence, the disability examiner will be required to rate the claimant's restrictions on a form and have the rating agreed to by other specialists in the disability examiner's unit.
In the case of a physical condition, the examiner will fill out something known as an RFC form. RFC stands for "residual functional capacity" and it literally translates to "what a person is still capable of doing".
On the RFC form, the examiner will indicate the claimant's lifting capacity, their ability to stand during a normal workday (8 hours), their postural limitations (how well can they balance, crawl, stoop, climb, balance, etc), as well as a number of other physical capabilities.
In the case of one or more mental impairments, the disability examiner will complete an MRFC, or mental residual functional capacity form, which will likewise attempt to rate the claimant's remaining mental functionality.
In either case, the disability examiner will have a consultant within their case processing unit essentially sign-off on the examiner's ratings of the claimant (assuming, of course, that they agree with the examiner's assessment; the consultants are, obviously, part of the examiner's unit to provide some level of oversight and to provide guidance to the disability examiner who is not a medical professional).
For a physical RFC rating, this will be done by a M.D. physician and for a mental RFC rating, this will be done by a Ph.D.-level psychologist, or another M.D. who has practiced as a psychiatrist.
As previously stated, the ratings that are given to a disability claimant are based on the information contained in their medical records. How does social security use this information to decide whether or not a claimant can work? By comparing the claimant's current physical and mental limitations to whatever was required of them in their past jobs.
Social Security Disability Decisions and SSI disability decisions are both medical and vocational in nature. This means that information regarding the claimant's history of employment is used to help determine the claim, as well as the information contained in their history of medical treatment.
Continued at: Social Security Disability, SSI, and Whether or Not a Person can Still Work
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
Medical exams for disability claims
Applying for Disability in various states
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
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits
FAQ on Disability Claim Representation
Disability hearings before Judges
Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers
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
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
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Applying for Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
How does Social Security Decide if I am Disabled?
How Does Social Security Decide How Much I Get For Social Security Disability or SSI?
How Will Social Security Decide a Disability Case that's filed?
Who will decide my Social Security disability claim?
Does Your Doctor Decide If You Get Disability Benefits from Social Security or SSI?
How does Social Security Disability Decide if you can Work or Not?
How does Social Security use Evidence to Decide an SSDI or SSI Disability Claim and Make a Decision?
Social Security Disability review question about part-time work
Deadline to file request for disability hearing
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.
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