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Can you get SSDI just because your doctor says you should?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance provides financial assistance to people who are unable to work due to a disability.

However, simply having a doctor diagnose you with a disability and say you should get SSDI does not automatically qualify you. It can be a starting point, though.

Just the beginning

A doctor’s diagnosis is an important aspect of applying for SSDI. That said, the Social Security Administration has specific criteria for applicants to qualify for benefits. For example, you must provide evidence of a medically determinable impairment. It must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

The SSA requires comprehensive medical evidence to support your disability claim. This evidence may include medical records, test results, treatment history and statements from health care professionals. The SSA evaluates this evidence to determine the severity of your impairment and how it impacts your ability to work.

Functional limitations

The SSA assesses your functional limitations when evaluating your disability claim. This involves considering how your impairment affects your ability to perform daily activities, work-related tasks and other functional areas. The SSA uses a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment to determine your ability to work despite your disability.

SSA’s definition of disability

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disability. It includes the following criteria:

  • You cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a medically determinable impairment
  • Your impairment must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death
  • Your impairment must prevent you from performing work that you did in the past
  • You are unable to adjust to other work due to your impairment, age, education and work experience

While a doctor’s diagnosis is a major part of the SSDI application process, it alone is not sufficient to qualify you for benefits. Navigating the SSDI application process can be complex, and many claims are initially denied.


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