Jesse’s arthritis worsened every year. Mark recently learned he has prostate cancer, and his friend Jack has been having severe back trouble. These individuals all need to consider filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, there are so many different kinds of medical conditions, how will you know what is considered a disability and what is not. One fact that helps determine whether you qualify for SSDI benefits is the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.
The Definition of Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages the SSDI program. When evaluating your claim, the SSA uses their definition of disability to determine whether you are truly disabled:
- You are not able to perform your previous job;
- You cannot switch to a different job because of a medical condition; and
- Your medical condition has lasted a year, is expected to last for at least one year, or is expected to result in your death.
Also, unlike other disability programs, SSDI benefits are not paid out for partial disability or short-term disability.
Applying the Definition of Disability to Your Case
The SSA first looks at your work credits. The number of credits you need varies depending on your age. For example, a person who is disabled at age 32 needs 20 work credits, while someone age 57 must have 35 work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Applicants who have enough work credits are then asked five questions:
- Are you working? If you earn more than a certain amount per month, you probably will not be considered disabled. For example, in 2019, you cannot earn more than $1,220 per month.
- Is your condition “severe”? Performing basic duties like lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering must be restricted by your medical condition for at least 12 months.
- Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? The SSA has a list of medical conditions that may prevent someone from working. However, if your medical condition or illness is not on the list, you may still qualify for SSDI.
- Can you do the work you did previously? Maybe you worked in construction but can’t any more because of arthritis or back problems. You may qualify for SSDI payments then.
- Can you do any other type of work? The SSA considers your age, your medical condition, education, past work experience, and transferable skills. It could be that your condition prevents you from working your old job, but you could work at a new job.
Do You Meet the Social Security Administration’s Definition of Disability?
If so, maybe it’s time to get the benefits you need. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience in the legal field. Call us at 714-385-8100 to set up a free consultation. Though our office is conveniently located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.