An Honest, Clear Voice In SSI/SSDI Care

How does the Social Security Administration define ‘disability?’

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2019 | Social Security Disability

When a person is young, they may take their good health for granted. After all, it may seem like serious illnesses or injuries only happen to the elderly. However, this is a misconception. Any worker in Oklahoma, young or old, can develop a medical condition that is so severe that it renders them disabled. When this happens, they may want to pursue Social Security disability benefits.

To be eligible for SSD benefits, a person must fulfill certain requirements. First, they must have earned enough work credits while employed, which can only be obtained by paying Social Security taxes. The number of work credits needed depends on the person’s age when they became disabled. Second, a person must be unable to perform any substantial gainful activity. Basically, this means they are unable to earn a certain amount of income. For example, in 2018 a person could only be eligible for benefits if they earned less than $1,180 monthly (or $1,970 monthly if their disability was blindness). Third, they must be unable to do any job that they are qualified to do.

Finally, a person must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of being disabled to obtain SSD benefits. This means that the person’s medical condition must last at least 12 months, be projected to last at least 12 months, or be projected to be fatal. It must significantly limit a person’s ability to engage in basic physical activities needed to perform any job, and it must be listed in the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments,” also known as the “Blue Book.”

The “Listing of Impairments” delineates which medical conditions are generally considered severe enough to constitute a disability that qualifies a person for SSD benefits. There are certain categories of impairments, such as respiratory disorders, disorders of the cardiovascular system, cancer and more. These categories include specific conditions. Within those conditions there are specific symptoms that a person must exhibit to meet the criteria to be deemed disabled by that medical condition.

To show that your disability falls under the “Listing of Impairments” requires a good deal of medical evidence. It is important to include all relevant documentation of your medical condition in your application for SSD benefits. An incomplete application could be denied, necessitating an appeal. For this reason, many applicants for SSD benefits choose to work with an attorney to ensure their application is as complete as possible.