Social Security Disability FAQ

Click on a question below to view the answer.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

SSDI is based on your employment history and the amount of your monthly benefit depends on your payment history.  In order to qualify for SSDI, you have to work for a minimum of five out of the last 10 years.  SSI is a means based program that does not depend on employment history.  The easiest way to think of SSI is as the welfare part of the program.

How does Social Security define a disability?

To be eligible for Social Security benefits, a person must be unable to do any kind of substantial gainful work because of a physical or mental impairment (or a combination of impairments), which is expected either: to last at least 12 months, or to end in death.

My Social Security claim was turned down, now what?

In most cases, you’ll be turned down automatically the first time you apply for Social Security benefits.  When this happens, you should appeal the decision.  The instructions on how to appeal should be on the notice turning you down.

What is a request for reconsideration?

Request for reconsideration is the name given to the appeal you have to file after your initial Social Security claim was rejected.  You have 60 days to file your reconsideration from the date you receive the letter from the administration denying your claim.

What is a request for a hearing before and administration law judge?

This is the next level of appeal after your ‘Request for Reconsideration’ was denied.  You have 60 days to file your request for a hearing from the date you receive the letter from the administration denying your reconsideration.

What are the listings of Social Security disability impairments?

It is a listing of physical and psychological ailments and the medical findings that are required in order to be found disabled under a specific listing.

What are medical vocational guidelines?

It is a table that takes into consideration age, education and work experience to determine whether a claimant is disabled.

What is a residual functional capacity?

It is a measurement of the claimant’s physical or psychological ability to do work related activities which is determined through medical finding.