Not everyone who applies for Social Security Disability Insurance gets approval for it the first time around. In some cases, you may be able to find success through filing an appeal, but this depends on several variables, including whether you meet a very narrow definition of the word, “disability.”

Per the U.S. Social Security Administration, many who receive denials when they apply for SSDI receive them because the SSA finds that their conditions do not meet their definition of the term. What does it take for the SSA to consider you disabled enough to potentially approve you for benefits?

Qualifying for benefits

First, to receive approval for benefits, your disability must be a “total,” rather than “partial” or “short-term” disability. This means it must not be one that may improve in the days or months to come. Instead, you must show that your disability should last a year or longer or eventually lead to your death.

To receive approval for SSDI benefits, you also need to show that you are unable to perform the work you did before your disability. Furthermore, you need to be able to demonstrate that you are unable to reasonably adjust to alternative duties on account of your condition.

Understanding the “disabling conditions” list

Whether the SSA approves you for benefits may also depend on whether your condition appears on a list it maintains of conditions considered severe enough to prevent you from working. If it is on the list, your chances of receiving approval improve. If it is not on the list, it is up the SSA to decide whether your condition is as severe as those that do appear.

Find more about applying for SSDI on our webpage.