As it has been reported on, the Social Security Administration has a process through which they determine if someone who is applying for social security disability benefits is truly disabled. This process requires applicants to answer five specific questions. 

Are You Working?

If an applicant is currently working, a review of how much money they make each month will be made. In 2016, if an applicant makes more than $1,130, it is likely that their application will be denied.

If the applicant is not working, or if their salary is less than $1,130, the application may be sent to the Disability Determination Services Office for further review.

What Is Your Medical Condition? Is It Considered “Severe”?

In order for an illness or injury to be considered severe, it must cause an impairment that interferes with all basic work activity.

Is The Condition Found In The List Of Medical Conditions?

The SSA has created a list for every major body system so that there is a reference for conditions that are automatically severe enough to consider the applicant disabled. The majority of conditions on this list are permanent or are expected to eventually result in death. If the condition is on the list but is not permanent or fatal, then the applicant must show that it has existed for 12 continuous months.

Can You Continue To Do Work In A Field You Previously Worked In?

If the applicant worked in a different field prior to the illness or injury which is preventing them from returning to their current job, it must be determined that they are unable to do work they have done in the past in order for them to receive benefits.

Can Any Other Type Of Work Be Done?

If the applicant can easily transition their work experience into a new role, it may be possible that the application will be denied.

What If My Condition Isn’t Listed On The SSA List?

There is no way that any administration could create a list of every single medical condition that exists. Just because your condition isn’t on the SSA’s list doesn’t mean you will be prevented from collecting disability benefits. In some cases, it is as easy as showing that the condition is essentially the same, or equivalent, to a condition that is on the list. In other cases, a complete review of medical records must be performed.

Does Age Impact My Application?

Yes. Age is always taken into consideration. The SSA understands that an applicant in their 50’s is less likely to be able to completely retrain for a new position and start all over again than someone who is in their 20’s and just started their career.


How Can My Mental Status Impact My Applicant?

If an applicant suffers from conditions such as depression and anxiety the person examining the application will need to determine if that applicant is able to perform simple routine repetitive tasks (SRRTs). If the applicant if found incapable of performing these tasks, it is possible that they may also be incapable of returning to work due to these conditions.

What Are Unique Features?

Unique Features are factors that are required in order to do a certain job - for example, in order to operate a crane, the operator must be focused and able to concentrate at all times, otherwise a serious accident may occur leading to serious injury. In many cases, anxiety and depression can interfere with these necessary requirements making it impossible to do a job.

It is important that you seek the care of a therapist so that there is documentation regarding the status of your mental health and to fill out the SSA’s form “Activities of Daily Living”. Many people don’t bother with this application or fill it out to completion, however, you should document how anxiety and depression impact your everyday life.