The SSD Determination Process

After you submit your application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review it to make sure you meet its basic program requirements. For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants, it will check whether you have worked enough years to qualify. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants, it will check to see that you meet the income qualifications.

If you meet these requirements, SSA will send your application to the Disability Determination Services office in your state. The state agency completes the disability decision by compiling your medical records and following a five-step process to decide:

  1. Are you working?
  2. Is your medical condition “severe?”
  3. Is your medical condition on the Listing of Impairments?
  4. Can you do the work you did before?
  5. Can you do any other type of work?

After the Decision Is Made

If your application is approved, you will receive a letter that states the amount of your benefit and when your payments will start. If your application is not approved, the letter will explain why and tell you how you can appeal.

Once you are determined to be disabled, you will remain on SSDI unless you earn too much or your health improves. SSA will review your condition every few years depending on if your condition is expected to improve and to what extent.

Most pulmonary hypertension (PH) patients should expect a review every three to seven years. An exception is if you had a transplant before your disability claim was approved; your claim will likely be reviewed about a year later to see how you are doing.