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What Qualifies an Individual as Disabled?

Qualifications that define an individual as disabled

According to the Social Security Act recognized by government officials since 1935, an individual is considered disabled if:

• a “medically determinable” physical or mental impairment prevents him or her from engaging in “any substantial gainful activity,” and
• his or her impairment is expected to result in death or last for 12 months or longer.

When it comes to disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) abides by substantially stricter guidelines than many state and private insurers. For example, partial disability or impairments lasting fewer than 12 months are not recognized by the SSA.

In addition to the actual physical or mental impairment in question, the SSA considers a variety of factors to determine if you are eligible for benefits. There are specifications based on the amount of income you have earned, the medical determinability of your impairment (based on concrete evidence such as X-rays or lab results), whether your impairment falls on the SSA’s approved list of disabilities, its severity, and its expected duration.

Finally—and perhaps the most stringent stipulation—the SSA only recognizes disability as an impairment that prevents you from performing any job, not just your most recent one. So if you’re unable to complete the job functions in your current line of work, you may not be eligible for benefits if your limitations don’t affect a different job description.

Though the SSA’s definition of disability is complex, you may meet the criteria for Social Security disability benefits. If you’re unsure, contact Jan Dils Attorneys at Law at 877.526.3457 for an expert consultation. We have an experienced team of disability attorneys, and one of our representatives will be happy to answer your questions. If you’d prefer to contact us online, fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law
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