What is Considered a Disability by the Social Security Administration?

After you suffer a severe injury or become chronically ill, any amount of work might incredibly difficult, if not impossible. You may decide to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your situation and to apply for Social Security disability benefits. But will you be confident that you will be approved? What does the SSA actually consider to be a disability, and what is just a really unfortunate situation?

Anyone applying for Social Security disability insurance will only be considered if he or she:

  1. Suffers a medical, psychological, or psychiatric impairment.
  2. The impairment prevents them from completing substantial gainful activity (SGA).
  3. The impairment has persisted and prevented SGA for 12+ months, or is expected to last at least 12 months.

A Closer Look at the SSA’s Definition of Disability

Meeting the three keynotes of the SSA’s own definition of a disability that qualifies for insurance or benefits is not as easy as simply striking off three checkboxes on a sheet of paper. Due to the language of the definition, there is arguably some room for interpretation. It is often necessary for an applicant to gain a better understanding of the terminology and what it really means.

Regarding a physical impairment, the SSA considers actual physical wounds like such as broken bones or disease that could make physical activity in the workplace unbearable. Regarding a psychological impairment, the SSA considers mental trauma that can actually limit a person’s ability to remember and follow instruction, behave professionally around coworkers and patrons, hold focus on a particular task, and, perhaps most importantly, know how to react in dangerous workplace situations. The first definition of disability is met if any of these conditions apply.

Substantial gainful activity (SGA) describes a job position or work that provides income over a certain amount. The current SSA rules state that anyone earning more than $1,170 each month while applying for SSDI benefits is completing substantial gainful activity and cannot qualify. The SSA may decide to immediately deny any application from anyone who is earning more than the minimum SGA threshold.

To prove the impairment has lasted or will last a year or more, medical records are necessary. You may be able to easily show that your disability has lasted a year if you keep organized copies of your own. If you have recently suffered disability, a doctor’s diagnosis that states the condition will last at least 12 months will be needed.

Panama City Social Security Disability Attorneys

At Syfrett, Dykes & Furr, we help people from all walks of life deal with Social Security disability law concerns. Our SSD lawyers in Panama City routinely assist with first-time SSD benefit applications, reapplying and appeals, and other legal disputes. If you are wondering if your disability would make you eligible for SSD benefits, do not hesitate to contact our friendly and experienced team today for a free consultation.


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