Signs You Will Be Approved for Disability Benefits

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Discover the top signs that you'll be approved for disability benefits. Learn about qualifying criteria, documentation and submitting a complete disability benefits application with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
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In this guide we will discuss common signs that your application for disability benefits will be approved. 

Table of Contents:


Sign 1: Your Medical Condition is in the SSA List of Impairments

When it comes to Social Security disability benefits, having your medical condition listed in the SSA list of impairments can be a major help.

This list serves as a guide for what conditions are considered disabling enough to qualify for benefits. If your condition is on the list, you have a much better chance of getting approved.

The SSA will look at each individual case and consider how severe the medical condition is for that person specifically. For example, if someone has broken their ankle but they still have full mobility and strength in their leg, then it may not be seen as debilitating enough to receive benefits.

However, if someone else has suffered a more serious injury with limited mobility or pain even after healing, then they may be more likely to get approved since this would prevent them from doing certain activities that require physical activity or walking around comfortably.

It's also important to remember that each person experiences pain differently.

Some people might find an injury less disabling than others due to higher tolerance levels or other factors such as age and overall health status. The SSA will assess all these things when determining whether someone qualifies for disability benefits or not.

In addition, the SSA looks at how much money you're able to earn despite having a medical condition.

If it affects your capacity too greatly then you may still qualify for benefits even if your impairment isn't listed in the blue book (the nickname referring to the official name “Listing of Impairments”).

Ultimately though, having your impairment listed on this document makes it easier because there's already evidence proving its severity which helps speed up approval times significantly.

Sign 2: You’re Over 50

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that those over the age of 50 may have difficulty finding employment due to reduced physical abilities. This means if you're over the age of 50, your disability claim is more likely to be approved than if you were younger.

For instance, if you worked in a field requiring physical labor which you can no longer do because of an injury or illness, the SSA will not suggest retraining for another job as they would with someone who was younger.

They understand that certain jobs require specialized skills which don't easily translate into other positions. Welding, mining, agriculture and fishing are examples of such vocations.

Even if an individual has transferable skills or could learn new ones through training programs offered by the government or private institutions, they may not have enough time left in their working life to make it worthwhile for them to pursue this route.

Older individuals often face greater difficulties when trying to find work due to employers' preference for younger workers who are perceived as having more energy and enthusiasm than those aged fifty-plus. The SSA takes these factors into consideration when evaluating claims from people over fifty years old.

Sign 3: You Earn Less Than the Monthly Substantial Gainful Activity Salary

If you're earning less than the monthly substantial gainful activity (SGA) salary, it's a sign that you may be approved for disability.

The SSA defines SGA as any form of employment that pays enough wages to cover normal living expenses each month.

In 2023, this amount is $1,470 for non-blind individuals and $2,460 for blind individuals – though these amounts can change from year to year.

It's important to note that having a low income doesn't necessarily mean an applicant is unable to work. That's why the SSA evaluates the work environment too. Those with higher incomes can argue that there are other factors at play such as irregular hours or special assistance equipment needed due to their disability.

This could show that if not for those accommodations they'd be making much less money – which could help them qualify for disability benefits.

Ultimately, when determining eligibility, the administration looks at how much an individual earns in comparison to what they would make without their disability, or any special considerations taken into account.

If someone’s earnings fall below the set threshold, then they have a good chance of being approved – so long as all other requirements are met too.

Sign 4: You Have Day-To-Day Difficulties and Sufficient Medical Evidence

If you’re applying for disability, having medical evidence to back up your claim is essential. This is what the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use to determine if you really are disabled and whether or not they should approve your application.

To prove that your condition significantly limits your ability to do basic work tasks such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting and remembering — for at least 12 months — you must provide sufficient medical evidence.

When it comes to gathering this type of evidence, be sure that it relates directly to how you’re affected in everyday life by your condition. Your doctor can help here. Explain all the difficulties and restrictions you experience due to your disability so they can document them properly in their records.

Check out the SSA’s list of impairments in the blue book. If yours appears on there and you have enough proof showing how it affects daily activities like mobility or hygiene routines, then this could give an extra boost towards getting approved for benefits.

Disability Benefits Approval FAQs

What are the chances of getting approved for disability?

The likelihood of being granted disability benefits is contingent on the nature and degree of one's impairment.

Generally, you must meet certain criteria to be eligible for benefits, such as having a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Your claim will be judged based on the extent to which your impairment hinders your capacity for labor and everyday activities.

It's up to the Social Security Administration (SSA) whether they approve or deny an individual's claim for disability benefits.

What are the 5 steps of disability determination?

There are generally 5 steps to a disability benefits application and approval determination.

  • Process Application and Documentation
    SSA necessitates applicants supply medical proof of their incapacity, for example physician notes, examinations and hospital records.

  • Review the Claimant’s Work History
    SSA will review an applicant’s work history to determine if they meet the criteria for a disability benefit.

  • Determine Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
    This is an assessment of what activities a person can still do despite any limitations caused by their disabilities or illnesses.

  • Compare RFC with Job Requirements
    After determining the claimant’s RFC, SSA compares it against job requirements to see if they are able to perform “substantial gainful activity” in order to receive benefits.

  • Make Final Decision
    Based on all gathered information, SSA makes its final decision about whether or not someone qualifies for disability benefits under Social Security law

What is the most approved disability?

The most approved disability is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI grants fiscal assistance to those with a physical or mental impairment that restricts them from working for at least one year. To qualify, applicants must have earned and contributed to Social Security for five of the last ten years prior to their disability.

The application process can take some time, yet once approved, recipients may be granted monthly payments and get Medicare coverage after two years.


Receiving disability benefits can be a complex process, but understanding the criteria and submitting a complete application are key steps to increasing your chances of approval.

Realizing the telltale clues that may point to you being accepted for disability assistance is a must in guaranteeing you get the support needed. If any of these indicators apply to your situation, it could mean good news regarding your eligibility for disability benefits.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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