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The Answers You Need

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

Social Security Disability (SSDI) is a federal disability insurance program.

If you have enough work credits by paying into Social Security and your disability began while you are insured for Social Security Disability, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits if you can prove that you are unable to work for at least 12 consecutive months or if your disability is expected to end in death.

However, the burden is on you to prove you are disabled. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors including age, work experience, transferrable skills, and the type and severity of your medical condition(s). Having an experienced disability lawyer can significantly improve your chances of getting approved. Contact us for a free consultation to evaluate a potential claim or to appeal a denied claim.

What is the Definition of Disability?

To meet Social Security's definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) that is either:

  • Expected to result in death.

  • Has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.


There is a separate definition of disability for children (under age 18) who are applying for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is a level of work activity and earnings. Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both. For work activity to be substantial, it does not need to be performed on a full-time basis. Work activity performed on a part-time basis may also be SGA.

“Gainful” work activity may include:

  • Work performed for pay or profit.

  • Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit.

  • Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

SGA is one of several factors used to decide if you are eligible for disability benefits. If you receive SSDI benefits, SGA can be used to decide if your eligibility for benefits should continue after you return to work and complete your Trial Work Period (TWP).

My Doctor Says I'm Disabled. Why Was My Claim Denied?

Disability is a legal status reserved by the government to decide, not by a doctor. Doctors' opinions can help your claim, but their opinions alone are insufficient to make their patients eligible for benefits. You will need strong medical evidence to support your claim. There are also non-medical factors that will be used to determine your claim such as your age, education, work history, and transferrable skills. Having a good licensed disability attorney to help you present your evidence, cite the relevant regulations and case, cross-examine medical and vocational experts, and argue your case on your behalf can significantly increase your chances of getting your claim approved.

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