Criteria for Determining Disability

Some of the physical and mental criteria Social Security looks at to determine if you are disabled include the following:

  • Unable to sit without severe pain for an hour;
  • Unable to stand without severe pain for an hour;
  • Unable to walk appreciable distances without pain;
  • Unable to lift more than 8 pounds without severe pain;
  • Unable to use your dominant hand due to severe pain;
  • Unable to use your fingers on the dominant hand due to severe pain;
  • Unable to balance without use of a cane;
  • Unable to balance on flat surfaces;
  • The need to lie down for much more than l.5 hours;
  • The need to elevate your legs when lying down;
  • The need to sleep for several hours during the day;
  • Do you suffer fatigue that prevents you from doing normal household chores?
  • Does your pain interfere with concentration, (e.g., watching television, reading a book, listening to music, etc.)?
  • Are you unable to read or write?

Do you have any mental impairments (depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc.) that result in the following:

  • Inability to concentrate;
  • Inability to persist on a task;
  • Inability to pace yourself on a task;
  • Inability to get along with other people, resulting in hostile behavior or withdrawal from people;
  • Inability to respect people in authority;
  • Memory problems;
  • Inability to remember or understand simple instructions like remembering someone’s telephone number and/or following directions when lost;
  • Do you have severe panic attacks weekly;
  • Do you have severe side effects from medication;
  • Are you unable to do simple mathematics;
  • Are you taking medication for any mental impairments?

Are you seeing a mental health therapist?

  • Preferably it should be someone who has or is supervised by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
  • If you are not treated by mental health professionals, sometimes your mental impairments will not be given consideration by Social Security.

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