Other requirements to qualify for SSDI

There are other requirements to qualify for SSDI as well. Let's look at the other requirements:

  • How the SSA Decides If You Are Disabled. If you have enough work to qualify for disability benefits, then the SSA uses a step-by-step process to decide if you are disabled involving five (5) questions. The five (5) questions are:

    1. Are you working? If you are working in 2014 and your earnings average more than $1,070 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are not working, however, then the SSA we will send your application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) that will make the decision about your medical condition, (Steps 2-5).

      The Disability Determination Services (DDS) office is the agency in your state that completes the disability decision for the SSA. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition, and the DDS will consider all the facts in your case, and will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics, or institutions where you have been treated and all other information. The DDS will ask your doctors the following types of questions:

      • What is your medical condition;
      • When did your medical condition began;
      • How does your medical condition limit your activities;
      • What medical tests have been performed and what do they show; and
      • What treatment have you received.

      The DDS will also ask for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, standing, carrying, and remembering instructions. It is important to note that your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled. For more information, please read the "Who decides if I am disabled?" section of our Disability booklet.

    2. Is your condition "severe"? Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. If your condition does not interfere with basic work-related activities, then it will be found that you are not disabled. If, however, your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, then the DDS goes to Step 3.
    3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? For each of the major body systems, the SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. Those conditions were listed herein above as Part A and Part B. As stated previously, if your condition is not on the list, then the DDS has to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, then the DDS will find that you are disabled. If it is not, then the DDS proceeds to Step 4.

      It is important to note that the DDS now has two (2) initiatives designed to expedite processing of new disability claims. One is Compassionate Allowances that are certain cases that usually qualify for disability that can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and pancreatic cancer.

      Social Security has an obligation to provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. Therefore, Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that can be obtained quickly. Compassionate Allowances is not a separate program from the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs.

      CAL conditions are selected using information received at public outreach hearings, comments received from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, counsel of medical and scientific experts, and the SSA’s research with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, the SSA considers which conditions are most likely to meet their current definition of disability.

      Social Security has held seven (7) Compassionate Allowances public outreach hearings. The hearings were on rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke, early-onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease and multiple organ transplants and autoimmune diseases.

      A Complete list of other CAL CONDITIONS can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

      If you believe that you or a loved one has a disability under the Compassionate Allowances, then it is imperative that you contact the Compassionate Allowances Team.

      Another way that the SSA is using the fast track to determine disability to get benefits to those who need benefits quickly are Quick Disability Determinations where sophisticated computer screening is used to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.

      As stated previously, the SSA is committed to providing benefits quickly to claimants whose medical conditions are so serious that they clearly meet the SSA’s disability standards.  Therefore, the two (2) fast-track processes, Quick Disability Determination (QDD) and Compassionate Allowances (CAL), use technology to identify claimants with the most severe disabilities and allow the DDS to expedite decisions on those cases while maintaining accuracy.

      These initiatives have been two (2) of the SSA’s greatest successes in recent years as the DDS can approve some cases in a matter of days instead of months.

      The QDD process uses a computer-based predictive model to screen initial applications to identify cases where a favorable disability determination is highly likely and medical evidence is readily available. By identifying QDD claims early in the process, the DDS can prioritize this workload and expedite case processing. The SSA have used QDD nationally since February 2008, and continue to refine the QDD predictive model to maximize its capacity to identify accurately these cases, so that they can expand the QDD process to serve additional claimants. For more information about the disability claims process, visit the Benefits For People With Disabilities website.

    4. Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then the DDS must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work that you did previously. If it does not, then your claim will be denied. If it does, then the DDS proceeds to Step 5; the final step in the process.

    5. Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do the work you did in the past, then the DDS determines if you are able to adjust to other work. To do this, the DDS considers your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, then your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, then your claim will be denied.

If you believe that you or a loved one are eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits and you are just applying for the first time, have been denied and wish to appeal, or simply want more information about your particular facts and circumstances, then please Contact Us as soon as possible for your free legal consultation so that we can assist you in receiving the benefits that you may be entitled to under the Law.