How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

How does social security define disability?

There are two ways to define disability in terms of how the social security administration views it. The first is to cite the definition used by SSA.

According to SSA, a condition, or set of conditions, meets the federal government's standard of disability if it does the following:

1. Persists for one year or longer - This length is an absolute requirement. A condition, to be disabling, must last this long at the very least. Having said that, however, a claimant is not required to have had a particular condition, or set of conditions for an entire year before they are allowed to file for disability, or before they can be approved for disability. This is because disability examiners at the initial disability application and reconsideration appeal stages, and disability judges at hearings, can review the claimant's medical records and ascertain whether or not a condition can be predicted to be disabling for a year or longer.

2. Prevents the claimant from working and earning a substantial and gainful income during the previously mentioned minimum one-year period -- Keep in mind that the definition of disability does not state that a claimant cannot work while filing for disability. It simply states that a person must be incapable of working at a certain level to be considered "disabled". That level is defined as a certain earnings amount per month. That earnings amount per month is called SGA, or substantial gainful activity. Essentially, to qualify for disability benefits from the social security administration, a claimant cannot earn more than the SGA amount that is in effect for a given year.

3. May result in death -- Many claimants might be surprised to read this, but the SSA definition of disability holds that a condition may need to be this severe to result in the awarding of disability benefits. However, this aspect of the definition of disability only comes into play in cases where it is not apparent that the claimant's condition rules out the ability to work and earn a substantial and gainful income. In all likelihood, cases that show an obvious risk of death will be those that involve quick disability determinations or compassionate allowances based on terminal illness criteria.

A second way to look at how SSA chooses to define disability is to simply add more detail to the disability definition. And this entails a greater discussion of certain concepts that are key to the Social Security Disability and SSI determination process, such as: Past work, Other work.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

What is the Social Security definition of disability?
How does social security define disability?
What does social security mean by disability, i.e. what is the definition?
What does the social security administration definition of disability actually say?
What is a disability according to the Social Security Administration?
Why is the Social Security Administration definition of disability so strict?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.