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Medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
The disability eligibility requirements of Social Security Disability and SSI are the same, meaning that the definition as to what constitutes a disability is the same, and how a person's medical records and work history is evaluated is the same. However, the non-medical requirements of both programs are a bit different from each other.
On this page, we will discuss the medical requirements of SSD and SSI, and on the following page (link below), we will discuss the non-medical requirements of SSD and SSI.
Medical Disability Requirements
To be eligible for SSD or SSI benefits, your history of medical treatment must show that you have at least one impairment that could be considered severe. To be severe, it must reduce your functionality; in other words, the impairment must reduce your ability to engage in normal activities of daily living, which, of course, can include work activity. How does the social security administration assess whether or not your physical and/or mental functionality is impaired?
1. Social security will evaluate your medical records, looking through your physician's treatment notes, your lab reports, the interpretations of xrays, MRI scans and CT scans, and hospital admission and discharge summaries to find evidence of functional limitations.
2. Social security, through a disability examiner, will ask you (and often a third-party contact person as well, such as a friend, neighbor, or relative) about the activities that are a part of your normal day. This is done in an attempt to gauge what activities you may have trouble with. For example, disability examiners who are conducting an ADL (activities of daily living) phone call to a claimant will typically ask the claimant how well they are able to prepare meals, do household chores, and take care of personal hygeine tasks.
Some claimants may wonder what daily activities have to do with disability. However, many conditions can have an immediate impact on the ability to perform daily activities. For example, a person with reduced grip strength might have difficulty buttoning clothes or picking up cans of food. A person with shoulder problems might have difficulty putting dishes into a cupboard. A person with memory difficulties might have trouble writing bills or making shopping lists.
Asking a claimant (or the person the claimant listed as a third-party contact) about their daily activities can help illuminate exactly how their condition impairs them and reduces their ability to function. This can be taken into consideration when the claimant's residual functional capacity is rated (all claimants are given physical and/or mental ratings of their remaining, or residual, functional capacity). The RFC rating is compared to the functional requirements of the claimant's past work and the requirements of any other work that the claimant might be considered capable of doing.
What makes a person medically disabled under either the social security disability or SSI program? Basically, that they have a severe mental or physical impairment that is severe enough to prevent them from being able to work and earn a substantial and gainful income for at least twelve months. When a claimant satisfies this criteria, they are considered disabled according to the definition of disability used by the social security administration.
continued at: The non-medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
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
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