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What qualifies as a disability?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability is a safety net program that provides financial assistance to individuals unable to work due to disabilities.

To be eligible for SSD benefits, it is important to have a clear understanding of what qualifies as a disability according to the Social Security Administration’s guidelines.

Defining disability

The SSA defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable impairment. It requires that your impairment lasts or will last for at least 12 continuous months or result in death. This definition is rather precise, emphasizing the importance of medical evidence and the duration of the disability.

Medical determinability

To qualify for SSD, you must present medical evidence that substantiates your impairment. The SSA evaluates whether your condition meets or equals one of their listed impairments, known as the Blue Book. This book is a comprehensive guide detailing various medical conditions and the criteria required for disability qualification. It covers a broad spectrum of impairments, from musculoskeletal disorders to respiratory illnesses and mental health conditions.

Non-medical factors

The SSA also considers non-medical factors, such as your age, education and work experience. These factors also help determine your ability to adjust to other forms of employment. If your disability prevents you from performing your previous job and other work available in the national economy, you may be eligible for SSD benefits.

In 2022, the SSA received 1,804,384 SSD applications, many of which resulted in a denial. The application process can be complex, and having a clear grasp of what qualifies as a disability can help ensure your application is complete and accurate.


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