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Disability definition under SSDI

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees distribution of benefits for the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The SSA has a very specific definition of the term "disability" and measures it by three criteria: (1) the applicant cannot do work as he or she did before; (2) the SSA decides that the applicant cannot adjust to other work because of the medical condition; and (3) the applicant's disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

The SSA determines whether the applicant is disabled through a five step process. First, the SSA determines if the applicant is working. Currently, if average earnings are $1,197 or more a month, then the applicant is not considered disabled.

Second, the SSA asks if the condition is 'severe'. A severe condition is one that interferes with basic work related activities. If the condition does not interfere with those activities, then the condition is not considered severe. If the condition is not considered severe, then the applicant is not entitled to benefits under the SSDI program.

Third, the SSA determines if the disability is either on the list of medical conditions or equivalent to a condition on the list. If the disability is on the list of medical conditions or is an equivalent condition, then disability is automatically assumed. If the condition is not on the list or an equivalent condition, then the SSA goes to step four. Step four is the determination of whether the condition interferes with the work the applicant previously was involved. If the condition does interfere, then the SSA will find a disability. If not, then the claim is denied. Lastly, the SSA will determine if the applicant can do any other type of work.

Categories: SSDI, SSA

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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