Social Security Disability RC|
How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay
What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?
Continued from: Part I: What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
After all the various types of evidence have been gathered on a Social Security Disability or SSI disability case by a disability examiner, how is the decision made? Or, perhaps a better way to put it is to ask "How does a person qualify for disability benefits and what makes them eligible?" We can answer the question in two parts.
How does a person qualify for disability
There are two ways in which an individual will qualify for disability benefits in either the SSD or SSI disability program. The first method is by having a condition that is listed in the social security administration blue book (the social security list of impairments) and also meeting the severity requirements of the listing for that condition. Satisfying a listing can be difficult and most conditions are not listed in the blue book.
An example of a condition that is listed in the blue book is asthma. Qualifying for disability under the asthma listing requires being able to show documented medical evidence that the condition has, first of all, been diagnosed, but, further, that the individual has chronic asthmatic bronchitis of a certain severity level, or that the individual has suffered a certain number of asthma attacks within a designated time frame.
One difficulty of satisfying the asthma listing is that for an attack to be countable it needs to have been documented by a physician. However, most people do not rush off to the hospital each time an asthma attack occurs. This can make satisfying the asthma listing difficult. But asthma is, by far, not the only listing in the blue book that is difficult to satisfy for whatever reasons. Many of the conditions in the Social Security impairments list will be very difficult to meet due to the documentation requirements.
Added to that difficulty, though is the fact that most medical conditions are not listed. Conditions like fibromylagia and carpal tunnel syndrome, while being fairly common, are not given listings.
Being approved on the basis of both your medical and work history
Fortunately, there is another means of receiving a disability award. This is by being given what is called a medical vocational allowance. This is a type of approval that requires a disability examiner to review a claimant's medical records and determine how they are functionally limited by giving them a rating. For example, for physical functional capacity, are they capable of heavy, medium, light, or sedentary work? For mental functional capacity, are they capable of performing what social security refers to as SSRTs, which are simple, routine, repetitive tasks?
This rating of a person's limitations is compared to the type of work they have done and this allows the disability examiner to decide whether or not they are capable of engaging in work activity.
The great majority of all approved cases are approved on the basis of a medical vocational allowance being made. And since this allowance (approval) is both medical and vocational in nature, claimants should try to provide as much information, at time of filing for disability, with regard to where they have been treated and where they have worked.
Giving Social Security details about your work history
The work history, in particular, should be well documented. It is generally unwise to simply list one's past places of employment. Instead, a claimant should also supply an accurate job title along with a detailed description of the duties involved for each job. This is because the disability examiner will rely on a resource published by the department of labor known as the DOT, or dictionary of occupational titles.
Jobs that are identified in the DOT supply information about the mental and physical requirements of jobs, as well as the skills that are held by individuals who have performed these jobs. Properly identifying the claimant's jobs in the DOT can determine whether or not the disability examiner will consider the claimant as capable of returning to their past work, or even being able to do some new type of work based on their training.
So, obviously, it is clearly in the claimant's best interests to provide enough detailed information about their work history so that their jobs can be properly identified. Because it can make a difference as to the outcome of a case.
What makes a person eligible for disability benefits?
Simply put, a person is eligible to receive disability benefits if they satisfy the definition of disability used by the social security administration. The way that SSA views disability is different from private disability insurance companies and very different from the military in the sense that it is not enough for a person to be disabled to the extent that they can no longer do their last job.
Their condition must be severe enough that the limitations that are imposed by their condition, or conditions, rule out the ability to do any kind of work while earning a substantial and gainful income.
The catch phrase in the last sentence, of course, is substantial and gainful income. What that basically means is that a person may be still work and be considered disabled by SSA if they are not able to work and earn a certain amount of gross income each month. That amount is the SGA limit (see the definition of: SGA, or substantial gainful activity ).
Here is a condensed form of the definition of disability. If a person's case satisfies this standard of disability, they may be approved for benefits.
1. The individual's condition must be severe, versus a simple non-severe impairment that has no substantial impact in terms of reducing their ability to engage in normal daily activities.
2. The condition cannot be temporary. Instead, it must last a minimum of 12 months (additional information: Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits? ).
3. The condition must result in functional limitations, of a physical or mental nature, or both, that make it impossible for the individual to work and earn a substantial and gainful income. And this inability to work at this earnings level must persist for at least one full year.
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?
Who qualifies for disability? - Qualifying is based on evidence of functional limitations
The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
How does Social Security Disability decide that you cannot work?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
Medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
The non-medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
Can I be in school and apply for disability?
What if you miss your Social Security Disability Phone Interview?
Question about when Social Security Disability Benefits began (date of onset)
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Arkansas
If you apply for disability in Arkansas
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.