Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?




 
Qualifying for disability is based on a decision that is both vocational and medical in nature and this is because the primary consideration is whether or not a person still has the ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income.

Your work history will be supplied by you and this should be detailed and clear. Your medical records, however, may not be so clear simply because the information that the social security administration is looking for is often not contained in your medical records.

What is social security looking for in medical record documentation? Evidence of limitations. For example, if you have a back condition, you may have difficulty with bending or crouching, or standing or sitting for prolonged periods. You may also have difficulty picking up objects over a certain weight.

You may further have difficulty with normal daily activities such as carrying groceries or operating a lawn mower or a vacuum cleaner. These types of limitations are reasonably expected when a person has disc herniation, spinal arthritis, or degenerative disc disease.

However, SSA (the social security administration) will not presume that a person has certain limitations simply because they have a certain condition. Ideally, the claimant's limitations should be notated in the medical records obtained from a claimant's doctor, or doctors. Unfortunately, most doctors do not include this type of information in their notes. It is simply not what they consider to be part of their normal documentation.

That said, clear evidence of limitations is exactly what SSA needs in order to approve a disability claim. Without evidence of physical and mental limitations being clearly indicated in the available medical records, the disability examiner or administrative law judge will have no choice but to extrapolate, i.e. make their best determination. It should go without saying that this is often to the disadvantage of the claimant.

How can this deficiency be overcome? This is often accomplished by obtaining a statement from the claimant's physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist (depending on the nature of the impairment).

The following page discusses the type of statement that is typically obtained for a disability hearing. This statement is usually referred to as a medical source statement or residual functional capacity form.

Such a form, completed by a physician who has a history of providing treatment to a claimant (and is therefore qualified to speak with regard to the claimant's prognosis and current limitations), may be submitted to the social security administration at earlier steps of the process.

However, disability examiners very often do not accord much weight to the opinion of a treating physician, while administrative law judges will generally give proper consideration to such statements as long as they are also supported by the remainder of the medical record.








  • 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:

    How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
    To qualify for Social Security disability or SSI, how severe must a condition be?
    Can You Qualify for Disability if you did not work much?
    How Do You Qualify For Disability without Money To Go To the Doctor?
    The Qualification Criteria for Social Security Disability
    What If You Did Not Work Long Enough To Qualify For Disability?
    Qualifying for disability benefits with the social security administration
    Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?
    Do You Qualify For Social Security Disability Insurance?
    What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
    What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
    Do You Have To Qualify For SSI Financially?
    How does work qualify you for disability? (work credits)
    If you apply for disability in Utah
    Getting a Disability Lawyer in Utah



    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 file for disability, SSD or SSI
    How to file for Disability and what medical conditions qualify
    How long will it take to get disability?
    What if your disability gets denied?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How to get disability with a mental condition
    How long for Social Security Disability Back pay
    Social Security Disability SSI eligibility