Sunday, September 07, 2008

To be Awarded Disability Benefits, How Severe Does Your Condition Need to Be?

To understand how severe your condition needs to be to be awarded Social Security disability benefits, you must first understand the definition of disability. Social Security has defined a disabling condition as any condition that has prevented you performing substantial work activity for at least twelve months or can be expected to prevent a person from engaging in substantial gainful activity for twelve months.

An individual may be awarded disability benefits for any condition as long as the condition has limited their residual functioning (what an individual is able to do in spite of the limitations caused by their condition) so significantly that they are unable to engage in routine daily activities such as working, driving, shopping, etc.

So how does Social Security determine the severity of your mental and/or medical problem? Once your disability claim is received at the state disability agency, an examiner obtains your medical records from the physicians and hospitals that you provided at your initial disability interview.

In addition to your medical records, both you and your third party (the person you provided during your interview as someone who knows about your condition or conditions) may receive questionnaires that review your ability to perform routine daily activities. Disability examiners make their disability determinations based upon the objective medical evidence, third party and daily activity questionnaires, your educational background, and your work history.

Keep in mind that Social Security disability is based upon residual functional capacity rather than specific medical and/or mental conditions. If your condition has caused your residual functional capacity to be so restricted that it prevents substantial work activity, your medical and /or mental condition may be so severe that you may be awarded disability benefits.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog


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