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How Does the Social Security Administration Define Disability?

The Social Security Administration’s Definition of Disability

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the official definition of disability is as follows:

“[I]nability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

This means you may be considered disabled if you are now unable to perform job duties which you were previously able to do and your disability is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

You may also be considered disabled if the SSA determines that you are unable to continue performing the duties of your job and unable to adjust to the duties of another line of work because of your injuries or condition.

Conditions that May Constitute Disability

There are a number of conditions that may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits, including those that pertain to the:

  • Musculoskeletal system: You may qualify if you have a disorder that affects your ability to move or use certain muscle groups, joints, or bones properly or perform complex motions.
  • Basic senses and speech: You may qualify if you suffer from an illness or injury that has diminished your ability to see, feel, hear, smell, taste, or speak, if it impedes your ability to work.
  • Lungs: You may qualify if your lungs or any other part of your respiratory system is affected to the point of reducing your body’s ability to convert oxygen and provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Such conditions must be officially verified through lab testing and evaluation of symptoms by a doctor.
  • Heart: You may qualify if you have a disorder or disease such as chronic heart failure, high blood failure, ventricular function, or any issue with circulation that prevents you from working or meeting the demands of your job.
  • Digestive system: You may qualify if you have a disease or disorder that impairs your body’s ability to process food appropriately, including issues like irritable bowel syndrome or gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.
  • Genitourinary system: You may qualify if you have a reproductive and/or urinary issue that impairs your kidneys or other organs and prevents your ability to function normally.
  • Hematological system: You may qualify if you have a persistent problem related to blood, bone marrow, or your live or spleen.
  • Skin: You may qualify if you have a condition that affects your integumentary system, especially if there are not available or consistently effective treatments to remedy its effects.
  • Endocrine system: You may qualify if you have hormonal or endocrine issues that affect your overall health or mental function.
  • Brain: You may qualify if you have a neurological disease of any kind, especially those that affect your motor function.

You may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you have any conditions that fall within the following categories:

  • Congenital disorders affecting multiple physical functions
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental health issues
  • Malignant neoplasm
  • Immune disorders

If you are unsure whether your condition may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits, click here to check out the Administration’s Blue Book and search for your particular illness or injury.

Proving Disability & Applying for Benefits

When completing your Social Security Disability application, you must provide appropriate documentation that is sufficient to convince the Administration that you are actually disabled. In order to do so, you must gather medical documentation from before you became disabled and since your condition has begun to impede your ability to work, especially if you do not have an exact disability onset date.

It may also be valuable to ask your doctor for help adequately communicating the nature of your disability and meet with a vocational expert who can accurately assess whether or not you are capable of continuing in your particular line of work.

Social Security Disability Lawyers Serving Clients in Orange County

At Humphrey & Associates, we may be able to help you make a strong case to the SSA and help you make informed decisions as you seek to recover fair compensation. Allow us to be your advocates during this time.

Call (844) 612-5800 today to speak to a Social Security Disability attorney in Orange County.