Qualifications for Disability Claims

December 4, 2013

What are the qualifications for disability claims?

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Substantial Gainful Activity.  You must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s):

  • That is expected to result in death, or
  • That has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical and/or mental activities.
“Gainful” work activity is: (1) Work performed for pay or profit; or (2) Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or (3) Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

Types of Disability Payments

December 3, 2013

Social Security pays disability under two programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for workers and certain family members (auxilaries) who have paid into the Social Security trust fund, and
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for individuals with limited income and resources. SSI is funded by the general funds.

For most applicants, the medical requirements are the same under both programs and disability is determined by the same process.