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

Medical Disability - How does Social Security view your work and medical records

Nearly all Social Security Disability and SSI disability decisions are made by considering A) your work activity over the fifteen years prior to the onset of your disability (when you stopped working due to your medical and/or mental condition) and B) the severity of your conditions, which is verified through the acquisition of the medical records you named during your Social Security Disability interview.

If you do not have any current medical treatment sources, you most likely will be sent to a consultative examination by a physician (paid for by Social Security). Of course, it is always more beneficial to you if you have had some medical treatment...versus having your claim rely on a one-time examination by a doctor who has never treated you.

How does this process all work? Once you have provided Social Security with a list of your medical sources, they will send a request for records to all the hospitals, clinic, and physicians who have treated you prior to the onset of your disabling conditions (note: Social Security often develops a much longer medical history if you have provided medical sources that go further back than twelve months).

Social Security also considers the types of jobs you performed in the fifteen years prior to becoming disabled in an effort to determine if you could still perform any of your past jobs. If Social Security determines that you are unable to perform any of your past work activities, they will consider other types of work you might be qualified to perform.

What guides Social Security Disability decision makers when they determine the severity of your medical conditions and what work you might be capable of performing? Social Security uses the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) to determine the physical and mental requirements of various types of jobs; additionally the DOT considers the skill level a job requires.

For example, if an individual performed a job that required strong intellectual skills to perform the job, social security may allow that job to be ruled out if the individual has a mental impairment such as severe depression, anxiety, loss of mental function (i.e. stroke, head trauma, aneurysm), or any other significant mental impairment.

For many disability claimants who have jobs that do not have significant exertional requirements (it is more difficult to achieve a Social Security Disability approval if your work was classified as "less than sedentary exertion", "sedentary exertion", or as "light exertion"), their job needs to be ruled out, so that Social Security can determine if their skills are transferable to any other types of jobs.

I must mention at this point that Social Security's vocational medical guidelines also consider an individual's age. Generally, individuals over fifty-five have a better chance for a medical vocational approval than younger individuals. An individual's educational background is also considered when determining a person’s ability to perform other types of jobs if their job has been ruled out due to medical and/or mental impairments.

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:

Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is an unsuccessful work attempt?
If my medical condition keeps me from working will I get Social Security Disability?
Can’t Work In My Old Job, How Does Social Security Disability Consider This?
Social Security Disability And Trial Work Months: You are allowed to Work
Medical Disability - How does Social Security view your work and medical records
Is there a Maximum I can Work and Make if I am on SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?
Working while getting Disability - Is it Possible?
Can You Work While You Appeal Your Social Security Disability Decision?
How long do you have To Be Out Of Work Before You Get Social Security Disability (SSD)?
Can I work without it affecting my Social Security Disability or SSI?
What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply for disability?
Will working part-time affect my SSD?
Working while on Social Security Disability and Not Reporting
What is SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity)?
If I Apply For Disability And Go Back To Work, Do I Need To Report This?
Are you allowed to work at all if you get Social Security Disability or SSI?
Getting disability approved in Florida
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Florida
Qualifying for SSDI in Florida

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.