Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Social Security Disability Approvals - Medical Conditions and Getting Approved

You can get Social security disability (SSDI) or SSI benefits for any medical condition, provided that you supply medical documentation to back up the fact that your condition is likely to prevent you from working enough to earn a living wage for at least one year. (Just exactly how much in earnings constitutes a living wage is determined each year by the social security administration and is referred to as the SGA, or substantial gainful activity, amount.)

There is a specific manual that lists impairments that SSA considers disabilities; however, many common medical conditions, such as arthritis, scoliosis, chronic back pain, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, manic depression, etc., are not specifically listed or referred to in the disability impairment manual (commonly called the “blue book”).

If you are suffering with a disability that is not listed in the SSA blue book, do not think for a minute that this means you cannot qualify for disability benefits. In fact, although some disability claims are granted because the impairment meets criteria listed in the blue book for a specific condition listed in the blue book, the majority of disability applicants are awarded disability benefits in the form of a medical vocational allowance.

A medical vocational allowance is given to claimants based on the extent to which their disability inhibits them from working: Can the disabled individual return to their job with medication, a reduced workload or ergonomic changes, physical therapy, etc.; or if they are unable to return to their former job, can they perform a comparable job given their past work experience, physical, mental or psychological symptoms, age and education? If the answer to both of these questions is no, then the disability claimant will be awarded a medical vocational allowance.

SSD and SSI determinations are made based, not on the nature of the condition itself, but on the extent to which the condition limits an individual’s ability to perform his or her daily activities, which SSA calls residual functional capacity. Note that residual functional capacity (RFC) encompasses both physical and mental limitations that may impair a claimant’s ability to perform daily tasks.

Regardless of the medical condition for which you are filing for disability, keep in mind that no disability benefits will be awarded unless you can provide medical records to support the fact that you are currently disabled, that your condition is likely to be ongoing, and that it is inhibiting your ability to work.

Make sure to tell your treating physician(s) exactly how your impairment limits your ability to perform daily activities and work responsibilities so that this information will be reflected in your doctor’s notes, which will help in getting your disability claim approved. Also, be sure to provide social security with the contact information for physicians/medical facilities, as well as dates of treatment, so that the disability examiner in your case can request the medical records necessary to substantiate your claim.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels
How will you be notified if you receive an Approval for Social Security Disability or SSI
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions – What Is the Rate of Approval?
The Social Security Disability Approval
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
The Medical Vocational Allowance Approval for Social Security Disability and SSI cases
Can you be denied for disability even if your doctor recommends that you be approved?
Filing for retroactive disability benefits
Can you qualify for disability based on narcolepsy?

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.

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