What Is Considered a Disability?

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two different disability programs that pay monthly benefits to those who are unable to work.

To qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the criteria established by the SSA to determine if an individual qualifies for disability benefits. You can explore the list of medical conditions for disability approval here.

To be considered as disabled a claimant must have an impairment that is either psychiatric, psychological, or medical in nature that will prevent you from doing enough work to earn a gainful income for at last 12 months.

To be considered as disabled per SSA guidelines, an individual must be unable to perform substantial work.

This means working and earning above the amount that is set as substantial gainful activity (SGA).

In 2019, that amount is set at $1,220 per month. For those who are self-employed there are some other tests that are used to determine if the claimant able to perform at an SGA level.

A person who earns in excess of the SGA amount and applies for disability will be denied the same day without having any medical records or evidence reviewed.

Medical Evidence To Qualify For Disability Benefits

To be approved for disability benefits, you must provide medical records that have hard evidence of the mental or physical impairments and how it keeps you from working and earning a substantial living.

You must provide current and up-to-date evidence that shows your functional limitations.

These records from the last 60 to 90 days must include lab tests and physician notes that detail the severity of your condition, your symptoms, the limitations and restrictions, and your prognosis.

Disability Determination Services must be able to determine from your medical records that your medical condition is severe enough to meet the criteria of the Social Security impairment listing which would mean you would be automatically approved for disability benefits.

The SSA will assess what kind of work – if any – you can do. The SSA will determine whether you can do sedentary, light, or medium work by looking at your functional limitations from your medical records.

These limitations include being unable to work for more than two hours or restricted from lifting greater than 10 pounds.

If you suffer from cognitive, psychiatric, or psychological impairments, Disability Determination Services will assess if you can maintain attention, focus and concentrate, understand and remember instructions, properly interact with others, and properly respond to hazards and changes in the workplace.

This is called the residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment, it will be determined if you can do any kind of work, including unskilled work, less than unskilled work, or semi-skilled work.

What Is Considered a Disability?

The Medical Criteria

There are hundreds of disabilities that can qualify for Social Security benefits.

These could include joint and muscle conditions, cardiac conditions, cancer, injuries, autoimmune disorders, neurological conditions, and man other conditions.

If you are ready to apply for disability benefits, you can visit www.ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 and speak with a representative or schedule an appointment at your local SSA office. Documentation is essential to the success of your disability claim.

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