What’s Needed to File for Social Security Disability?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. There are many factors of SSD eligibility requirements that must be looked at before a person can qualify to receive benefits. In general, a monthly cash benefit is paid to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called “work incentives,” that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work. We have compiled some Social Security Disability FAQs that may help answer some questions.

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

What Medical Conditions Are Considered Grounds for Disability?

The listing manual, which has been updated for 2017, includes:

  • musculoskeletal problems, such as neck, head, back, spine, and severe bone injuries
  • cardiovascular conditions, such as stroke, heart failure, or heart disease
  • senses and speech issues, such as vision and hearing loss, muteness, stuttering
  • respiratory illnesses, such as emphysema, asthma, or COPD
  • neurological disorders, such as MS, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy
  • mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, or retardation
  • immune system disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV/AIDS
  • various syndromes, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Hypo/Hyper Thyroid, and Hashimoto’s Disease
  • skin disorders, such as severe eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis
  • digestive tract problems, such as IBS/IBD, liver disease, gallstones, and food allergies
  • kidney disease and genitourinary problems such as kidney failure, and tumors
  • cancers or any disabling type such as brain, lung, kidney, and any other cancers
  • hematological disorders, such as hemolytic anemias and bone marrow disease
  • Other conditions can also meet the qualifications for disability on a case by case basis

Non-Exertional Impairments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) decides what level of work you can do by looking at your exertional limitations; that is, limitations that affect your ability to do strength-related work activities such as the ability to:

  • lift
  • carry
  • push
  • pull
  • stand
  • walk
  • sit


“Getting disability benefits is not easy unless you have an extremely severe or terminal illness; most people who apply for disability are denied benefits because the SSA believes there is some type of job they can do” (Disability Secrets).

This is the unfortunate fact that many of our clients discover after they have tried and tried on their own to get a ruling in their favor and end up being denied yet again, and so they come to us in their greatest hour of need to get help filing an SSDI application.

Less than Sedentary RFC

If you can’t do sedentary work you are likely to be approved for disability. For example, you might be considered unable to do sedentary work if you have a condition that causes:

  • expressed need to change between sitting and standing and moving often
  • the inability to stoop, bend, kneel, or twist
  • frequently hospitalization and a lot of absenteeism due to health-related issues
  • the inability to follow verbal or written directions
  • the inability to complete simple tasks on time
  • lack of ability to recall information related to basic job tasks and work

“Social Security uses both medical disability criteria and non-medical criteria to determine whether you qualify for Social Security disability (SSDI, the program based on work credits) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI, the low-income program).  First, you must be able to prove that you are medically disabled. Second,  you must have either earned enough work credits to be considered “insured” under the SSDI program or your income and assets must be low enough to qualify for the SSI program” (Disability Secrets).

Getting Help With Your Disability Case

These are just some of the conditions and health factors that go into determining whether an individual is disabled and if they are unable to work. There are many other factors involved, most of which are based on a case by case review and can vary greatly from one individual to the next and one situation to the next. If you or a loved one believe you have a case for disability and need help getting social security disability insurance to rule in your favor, give us a call- we are here for you!