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How The U.S. Social Security Administration Defines “Disability”

Cutter Hall Karlock, LLC Feb. 23, 2021

Many Ohio residents with disabilities or serious injuries apply for Social Security Disability Insurance from the U.S. Social Security Administration only to have their claims denied. Whether the SSA approves you for these disability benefits is going to depend on whether you meet its strict definition of “disability.”

Per, part of gaining access to SSDI benefits involves working a certain amount of time in a position covered by Social Security. Then, you need to meet the criteria for having a complete, rather than partial, disability. This means you have a condition that is either unlikely to improve over the next 12 months or likely to end in your death.

Additional qualification criteria

To meet the SSA’s definition of disability, you need to show that you are unable to do the same work you did before experiencing your disability or injury. You also need to take things a step further and show that your disability also keeps you from performing alternative tasks.

Questions the SSA asks to determine eligibility

If your work history is substantial enough that it allows you to pursue disability benefits, expect the SSA to ask specific questions when deciding whether to approve you for benefits. Whether your condition is severe is among them. The SSA also asks whether your condition appears on its list of disabling conditions. If your condition does not appear on the list, this does not automatically disqualify you from consideration.

SSDI benefits seek to help only those who have serious, long-term disabilities. If yours is short-term in nature, you may have other assistance options available to you.