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SSD claims: What is the definition of a disability?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

It’s essential to understand how the law defines a disability before applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Not every condition qualifies as a disability, and your SSD application could be unsuccessful for not meeting this threshold.

Your condition must meet certain criteria to be considered a disability and make you eligible for SSD benefits. Below are some of the factors considered when determining disability under the Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines. 

Inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA)

You must be unable to engage in SGA due to your impairment. In other words, your monthly income should not surpass a specific income threshold set by the SSA. This limit depends on the nature of your disability and is adjusted annually. For instance, the monthly SGA amount for non-blind individuals in 2024 is $1,150.

Duration and severity of impairment

Your impairment must significantly limit your capacity to perform basic work-related activities. This includes physical or mental disabilities that limit activities like walking, standing, sitting, lifting and even remembering. Additionally, you must be unable to perform these actions for a continuous period of at least 12 months since SSD benefits do not cover short-term or partial disability.

It is also worth noting that the SSA maintains an impairment list for conditions deemed to be severe disabilities.

SSD approval is not automatic

Meeting medical criteria alone might not guarantee approval of SSD benefits. Your application must undergo rigorous evaluation to illustrate how the medical condition fundamentally restricts your ability to secure employment and earn a livelihood. Remember, you can appeal a denial by providing additional evidence.

Reaching out for legal assistance can help you present a compelling case for eligibility and increase the odds of a successful SSD application.