Medical Qualifications For Approval

The Social Security Administration recognizes hundreds of different illnesses and conditions that qualify an American to receive Social Security Disability. Benefits are awarded based on the severity of the condition which the claimant is suffering from. There are 14 different categories of medical conditions that the SSA uses to distinguish disabilities; this impairment manual is known as the “Blue Book” and is the foundation of accepted disabilities.

Medical Conditions Recognized As Disabilities

The Social Security Administration officially defines disability as – “The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity or employment by reason of a medically determinable mental or physical illness that is expected to last for a minimum period of 12 months or result in death”. Substantial gainful activity is defined as working more than 20 hours a week or earning more than $1,090 per month and may vary slightly depending on the applicant. These definitions are used by the state run agency known as – Disability Determination Services – who reviews medical records, work history and education to determine whether or not a claimant meets the necessary criteria to be awarded disability benefits.

Simply put, the SSA uses this process to determine if an applicant who is filing for Social Security Disability genuinely suffers from a condition or illness that inhibits their ability to perform substantial gainful activity that will last the minimum one year or result in death. These evaluation processes are completed through extensive examination of the medical records presented by the applicant along with new examinations from medical examiners sanctioned by the SSA. In addition to medical requirements, the claimant must meet all other financial criteria to be approved for disability.

The Difference Between Physical and Mental Illnesses

There are hundreds of thousands of different illnesses that can negatively impact the lives of Americans. Typically illnesses are categorized as physical or mental illness depending on how the impairment hinders the individual.

Physical Conditions– These types of illnesses affect an applicant’s physical (body-related) abilities such as basic limb and back movement, walking and standing capabilities, grabbing and lifting competency, etc. When an applicant applies for disability benefits, his or her application will be sent to and reviewed by the local Disability Determinations Services office. At the office, a DDS medical examiner will determine what level of activity an applicant is capable of despite their condition (also known as an exertional level) and will use this information to decide if he or she is able to work in the labor force.

Mental Conditions– These types of illnesses affect an applicant’s cognitive abilities such as memory retention, mood, logical thinking, emotion control, etc. After an applicant has submitted their application, the medical examiner at the local DDS office will determine if an applicant with a mental illness has the ability to engage in SRRT’s (simple, routine, repetitive tasks) and if he or she is capable of social interaction and concentration in a work setting.