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

What is a disability according to the Social Security Administration?

The definition of disability used by the social security administration is fairly simple, though meeting it can be difficult. The definition states that a disabling condition for SSSD or SSI is one that is severe, and severe enough to make it impossible for a person work and earn a substantial and gainful income for a period of not less than one full year, either at a former job, or at some type of other work for which they might be suited.

According to SSA, a disability is any condition, or set of conditions, that meets its definition of disability. Whether or not a claimant's case meets this definition of disability, though, is determined by reviewing the claimant's history of medical treatement (facilitated by gathering the treatment notes and records from their various treatment providers), and, usually as well, their work history.

Cases are approved for Social Security Disability or SSI disability in one of two ways. The first is by satisfying the requirements of a Social Security listing. What is a listing? A listing is a physical or mental impairment that is "listed" in the blue book (which, in printed form, is called "Disability Evaluation under Social Security", though most lay persons simply refer to it as the Social Security Disability list of impairments). The listing manual is actually a listing of various conditions and the social security criteria that needs to be satisfied in order for a person to be approved on the basis of one of those conditions, such as, for example, bipolar disorder, lupus, or depression.

Note: As a disability examiner, I was required to keep a copy of the blue book on my desk and this resource was used multiple times each day when reviewing claims. The blue book, in addition to the listings, also provides forewords on various medical conditions (e.g. degenerative disc disease) and body systems (e.g. cardiovascular or respiratory system impairments).

Most claims that are approved are not approved on the basis of satisfying the requirements of a listing. This is because listing requirements tend to be very specific. And what does not help this is the fact that most medical records lack a certain specificity that is required to satisfy a listing's requirements. Therefore, for this reason, it is not at all uncommon for an individual's case to fail to meet the depression listing, but yet still be approved for disability under the second method of disability approval.

The second means of being approved involves something known as sequential evaluation. This system is how most Social Security Disability and SSI cases are approved. It involves several steps and if all of the steps are successfully completed, an applicant's case may be approved (though, in the case of SSI disability, even successfully completing these steps does not necessarily mean that a person will receive disability benefits since they will still have satisfy the non-medical requirements for SSI that involve a limit on how much a person can have in assets).

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:

What is the Social Security definition of disability?
How does social security define disability?
What does social security mean by disability, i.e. what is the definition?
What does the social security administration definition of disability actually say?
What is a disability according to the Social Security Administration?
Why is the Social Security Administration definition of disability so strict?
If you apply for disability in Florida
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Florida?
Permanent Social Security Disability 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.