Social Security Definition of Disability
How does the social security administration define disability? It might surprise some individuals to learn just how specific the social security definition of disability really is.
The SSA definition of disability is generally recited as follows: an individual who is filing for either social security disability or SSI disability will be found to be disabled if the determination is made, by a disability examiner or a disability judge, that they have been unable to engage in substantial gainful work activity due to a medical condition (physical or mental in nature) that has either lasted 12 months, or can be projected to last at least 12 months.
This definition is certainly obtuse, but this is essentially what it means. To be approved for either social security disability or SSI, you must have ----
1. A condition that lasts at least 12 months (you do not have to disabled for 12 months BEFORE you apply for disability as long as the medical evidence shows that your condition WILL LAST for at least 12 months).
2. A condition that is severe enough to keep you from working entirely OR is severe enough to keep you from working and earning at least at least the SGA (substantial gainful activity) amount for a given year (to see the current amount, go to this page on substantial gainful activity).
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
Qualifying for disability and the definition of disability used by SSA
Social Security Definition of disability
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