To receive benefits under the SSD or SSI programs, the standard for being considered “disabled" is the same. A claimant must have physical or mental health problems (or a combination of both) severe enough to keep them from working in a regular, paying job for a period lasting at least 12 months. The standard is not whether a person is able to get a job, or whether a person is able to go back to their old job. The standard is whether a person is capable of doing jobs that are present in the economy in “significant" numbers.
Using several factors including a claimant’s medical condition, remaining ability to work, age, education, training and work experience, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will apply the relevant law and determine eligibility for the benefit programs.