Because Experience Matters Contact Us

How Does The Social Security Administration Define Disabled?

Cutter Hall Karlock, LLC Nov. 26, 2019

To receive Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked the allotted number of hours to accrue the right amount of work credits for your age. You must also meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” This entails meeting certain criteria set forth by the SSA, including the following five considerations. Disabling conditions only projected to last a short time or conditions that are not considered to be fully debilitating are usually not eligible for benefits.

1. Your current work status

Consider your monthly earnings over the course of 2019. If your earnings amount to more than $1,220 a month per month throughout the year, it is likely that the SSA will deny your benefits application. If you receive a denial from the SSA, you have a right to appeal the initial decision.

2. The severity of your condition

After meeting the income criteria, the SSA will next consider the seriousness of your injury or health condition. To be eligible for benefits, a person must not be able to perform basic tasks and chores by her or his physical limitations. This inability must persist for a period of 12 months or longer to meet the definition of total disability.

3. The presence of your condition on the SSA’s disability list

The SSA designates certain conditions as disabling. If you have one of these conditions, you become eligible for benefits. However, just because your condition is not listed does not mean you are not disabled. In this case, the SSA will need to review your health status and make a determination from there.

4. Whether you can perform the same work you did before

Next, the SSA reviews the type of work you are capable of doing. Your ability to perform the same job duties as you did before makes you ineligible for disability benefits.

5. Whether you can do any other type of work

Along with any health conditions you are currently afflicted with, the SSA also looks at other factors to determine if you are capable of handling another position. Your age serves as a factor, as will any previous training or education you have undergone. These factors combine to establish your employability.