Disability (As Defined By the SSA)

Disability, for the purpose of Social Security Disability, is defined as the complete inability to perform work for gainful employment due to physical, mental or emotional factors. In order to be considered disabled by the SSA, you must be completely disabled. This is defined by three characteristics:

  • You are completely incapable of performing any work that you have ever performed. This includes not only the last job you have worked at and other recent employment, but any employment from your entire work history.
  • Your medical (or mental/emotional) conditions are severe enough that you cannot be reasonably expected to accept any other work which is available.
  • Your disability is expected to last more than a year or to result in your death before a year has passed.

If you do not meet all three criteria, you do not have a total disability according to the SSA, and you will most likely not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. It almost goes without saying that this is a very narrow definition of disability and is considerably different compared to the standards used by other disability programs such as Workman’s Compensation.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability requires that you prove that your disability will not allow you to perform any work, either in fields in which you have experience, or anything else for which you would be reasonably qualified. Factors such as your age, degree of handicap, and education level are considered when determining whether your disability will preclude you from qualifying for jobs which are currently available.

If you believe you are experiencing a condition that would meet the SSA's definition of disability, then you can file a disability claim. A disability claim is a request for monthly financial assistance from the SSA. You can file a disability claim for two different programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Both can help cover costs related to your disability and daily living needs.

When trying to establish a Social Security Disability claim, it is always a good idea to consult a professional Social Security Disability attorney, as they are familiar with the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability and can help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing.

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