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 - Permanent Disability

You do not have to be permanently disabled to collect social security disability (SSD) or SSI income. In fact, the social security administration anticipates that at any given point a claimant’s condition may substantially improve, and thus requires those awarded disability benefits to participate in the process of a continuing disability review, or CDR. The sole purpose of the CDR process is to determine if there has been any improvement in the claimant’s medical or financial circumstances.

Approved claims are subject to “diary review dates” after one, three, and seven years, depending on the condition for which disability was awarded and the probability for improvement. Normally, all that is needed to avoid interruption of disability benefits is medical documentation that the claimant still suffers from the impairment for which disability was originally awarded, and that there has been no improvement.

However, although you do not have to be permanently disabled to qualify for SSD or SSI benefits, you do have to be totally disabled, as defined by the social security administration (SSA).

SSA considers an individual totally disabled only if he or she is unable to earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount for a given year. Here is the current SGA amount for non-blind individuals.

Disability claimants must be able to document, through their medical records, that their condition is severe enough to prevent them from returning to their job, or from performing any other job for which they may be suited, for at least one year.

Social security does not define totally disabled as unable to perform any work. You can work when you apply for disability and you can work after you are awarded disability—you just can’t make more than the SGA amount (this amount is updated annually to reflect inflation and cost of living increases).

Just keep in mind that, unlike workers’ compensation, which is governed by state laws and may award benefits for partial or temporary disability depending upon the state, social security disability programs are run by the federal government—no matter where you file in the United States, you will be awarded SSD or SSI benefits only if you can demonstrate a severe, ongoing physical or mental impairment, that is not likely to improve, under any circumstances, within the next year.

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

Related pages:

Total Disability - Will social security try to determine if a person is totally disabled?
Will You Possibly Get Less Than Total Disability From Social Security?
To get Social security Disability or SSI do you have to have Total Disability?
Does Social Security offer Partial Disability Benefits?
How severe must your condition be to be awarded Social Security Disability or SSI?
Social Security Disability - Permanent Disability
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Filing for retroactive disability benefits

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