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

Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI

In claims where at least one condition is judged to be severe, the disability examiner or judge will determine whether or not the claimant's condition is severe enough to keep them from engaging in work activity while earning at least a substantial and gainful income.

Remember that for social security administration purposes, a claimant is allowed to work and earn income while either apply for disability or receiving disability. However, for such individuals, the qualifications criteria mandates that their condition must be severe enough that, although they can work, they cannot earn at least a substantial and gainful income (to see the definition of this, see SGA).

If a person has a severe condition that prevents them from earning a substantial and gainful income, will it result in their being given a social security disability award (or SSI award as the case may be)?

Not necessarily. The impact of a claimant's condition on their ability to work must last for at least one full year. And even if the individual is awarded disability benefits, they will still periodically undergo a review of their claim to determine if they are still disabled.

This is because the social security administration views disability as "permanent disability". And currently the benchmark for determining if a condition is permanently disabling is to see if it has lasted a full year, or, through a projection, determining if it will last a full year.

How does a disability examiner or a disability judge determine whether or not a claimant's condition will be severe enough to prevent substantial and gainful work activity for at least one full year?

To some extent, this is a subjective call. It certainly always relies on the information that is recorded in the claimant's medical records. Unfortunately, most medical records do little to document the following:

A) If a claimant's condition is disabling;

B) What limitations and physical and mental restrictions result from the claimant having a particular condition;

C) How long the condition will last;

D) What impact the claimant's condition will have on their ability to engage in normal daily activities, including work activity.

Because most doctor's notes do not provide this type of information in any abundance (if at all), it is generally wise for a claimant (or the claimant's disability lawyer if they have one) to try to obtain a detailed statement from a doctor.

Such statements are often ignored by disability examiners who do not give a claimant's treating physician the proper weight; however, at a disability hearing an administrative law judge will generally pay close attention to a physician's statement if it is detailed and essentially conforms to the information recorded in that same doctor's treatment notes.

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

Related pages:

Qualifications for Disability Benefits
SSI disability qualifications for Adults and Children
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications - What is the examiner looking for?
Social Security Disability Attorney Qualifications and Expenses
What are the disability qualifications in North Carolina?

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