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How does the SSA define a disability?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

If you are seriously hurt or are suffering from an illness that renders you unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. SSD benefits are meant to provide a financial safety net for qualified Americans who have worked and paid taxes but are no longer able to do so. 

To qualify for disability benefits, however, your condition must satisfy the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability. 

Defining disabling conditions 

The SSA defines a disability as any physical or mental condition that prevents an individual from working for at least one year. Terminal conditions like mesothelioma are also considered disabling. This means that you can receive SSD benefits for a physical or a mental condition as long as that condition is preventing you from working in your current role or a different role for 12 months or more. 

To receive the benefits, however, your condition must be positively diagnosed by a medical professional. And this explains the importance of submitting your medical records when applying for disability benefits.

Common conditions that qualify for disability benefits

The SSA routinely updates a list of conditions that meet the legal threshold for disability on their Blue Book. However, this does not mean that you cannot receive disability benefits if your condition is not on this list. 

Here are some of the medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits:

  • Musculoskeletal and cognitive tissue conditions like chronic back pains and amputations
  • Cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and hypertension
  • Nervous system conditions like dementia and brain tumors
  • Terminal cancers

Seeking the damages you are entitled to

Social Security disability law, like most legal matters, can be complex and difficult to figure out. Learning how the SSA defines a disability can be an important step toward claiming the benefits you may be entitled to.