How to Tell What’s Wrong with You


It sounds strange to say that many people on disability don’t know WHY they are on disability. Strange, but true. If you listed a whole bunch of conditions on your application, you might not know which conditions you were approved for.


Why Do I Care What They Think Is Wrong With Me?

If you are on disability, it can be handy to know this. From time to time, you will come up for a disability review. According to the Social Security policies, the simplest way to pass a review is if you still have the condition you were approved for and this condition has not approved.

There are other ways someone can approved, but this is the simplest way. Of course, if you don’t know what condition you were approved for, it won’t be all that simple…


How Do I Find Out What They Think is Wrong With Me?

There are a few ways to find out:

  1. Call SSA and ask if they can find this in the computer for you. The folks that answer the phone there can be a bit variable, so no promises. You may need to call a few times and ask different people.
  2. It may be listed on your approval letter. If you had an appeal and hearing it is probably in the letter. If you were approved at an early stage, it may not be there.
  3. Look up your secret code. This only works if you have been sent a short-form disability review
  4. Contact Social Security and ask them to mail you your case file on CD. This may have more details and information on why and how they approved your case.

If you are looking up your code, you will probably discover two diagnosis, a primary and a secondary. Some people have only one.

If your secondary diagnosis is listed as addiction — that doesn’t mean you actually were approved for addiction, it means they approved you DESPITE your addiction.

If you are approved for mental illness and your symptoms have not changed, but your diagnosis has has changed, do not worry. This is fairly common in mental health and in most cases Social Security looks at broad categories for mental illness. For example, these are all the same impairment in the Social Security listing: Social anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Generalized anxiety disorder, Agoraphobia, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder.


6 thoughts on “How to Tell What’s Wrong with You”

  1. Hi there,
    Wow Thank you for your thorough coverage. I am tring to find a portion of your site that talks about 6 months after approval ..what to know. I am coming into that now. I can’ t remember what it is that can be done with the small portion of money of I received. Can that money be taxed or taken in someway. Also, last month they reduced my monthly stipend by 100.00 with no reason, just that it was being done.
    I am 52 and finally got disability approved, but have found I now have to pay fo insurance and lost dental and eye care.
    I have spend endless hours on the phone and have been told vastly different stories.
    I had been approved for Magi ( ss and medicaid) and it kept expiring each month. I would have to tackle each time anew. It worked for 3 months then stopped.
    I was told on several occasions that Magi was appropriate since. I was not 65.
    Any thoughts on either question?
    Thanks so much!


  2. Hi Ronan,

    Congrats on your approval. You can find more info on everything that happens after you are approved:

    They are probably reducing your check because of medicare fees. There are quite a lot of programs that can help with Medicare co-pays and fees. hope something here helps:

    In most states, you won’t be eligible for MAGI medicaid anymore if you are now on Medicare. There may be another form of medicaid you can get – see link above.

    Unfortunately, you can’t go by what they tell you on the phone, since it is often wrong. Being told different stories by different people like that is very common 😦

    Some people have to pay taxes on Social Security and some do not. I think the most important thing with backpay is to pro-rate it – don’t declare it all in one year. So if you were applying for three years, your backpay is divided up and you only declare 1/3 each year – which may mean amending past returns. I don’t know much about taxes though, so you may wish to consult a tax advisor.

    Hope this helps ❤


  3. Hi,
    I was approved and diagnosed with Bipolar 2, and OCD as secondary diagnosis about 8 years ago and have been in treatment since then and following the program. But a few months back my Psychiatrist retired and I found a new one who thinks I actually do not have Bipolar 2 but instead Depression and severe OCD. I see that you say not to worry if the diagnosis changes but the symptoms do not change. But being a worrier I am very concerned that in my next review SSDI will have an issue with the changed diagnosis. What do you think I might be facing in this area? If my new doc says she does not think I have Bipolar 2 might that be a big problem for me? Will I have to reapply with another diagnosis? Any help is much appreciated. Also, I love the beautiful artwork on this site. Thank you!


    1. Hi Glenn, I don’t think this is anything to worry about. As long as you are still in treatment for mental health that is what they look for. It’s very common for people change mental illness diagnosis.


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