Social Security Administration

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How Disability is Defined, the SSA Way

Definition of Disability as applied by the social security administration according to the Social Security Laws

Are you wondering about the term "disability" and how it is really defined? Each of us may have an individual concept of disability and who are those that can be considered disabled and those who cannot be noted as one.However, if you and all the others think that your idea of the definition of disability is the same as that of the Social Security Administration's then you might have to reassess your thoughts. The social security administration or SSA is the implementing agency of the Social Security Act. One of its essential tasks is setting official definitions and determination of disability. In order to present a general context on the definition of disability, throwing significant light on a couple of longstanding myths concerning its meaning is in order.First, SSA does not have a policy granting that only "totally disabled" persons can be eligible to obtain disability benefits. To set this myth straight, people have to realize that "totally disabled" may be an artful term used by society, but the SSA does not use such term as their definition of disability.Even if you were to ask, about a hundred doctors to define "totally disabled" you would probably get various differing answers. However, more would define that a person who is totally disabled is a person who has lost the ability to function in any way.Generally, for you to become eligible to apply for social security disability benefits, the SSA does not require that you not be working in any way. On the other hand, this condition does not mean that you need to be physically or psychologically incapable of functioning. Secondly, it is not true that you have to be "permanently disabled" in order to become eligible for social security disability benefits. "Permanently disabled" is another artful term used by society but not used in anyway by SSA to define disability. A doctor, in supporting a patient's disability benefits claim usually states that the patient is permanently disabled. However, it is a fact that most people applying for benefits under the Social Security disability program are not actually permanently disabled. Even if it were true, it is yet too early to ascertain if a middle-aged person would be able to work again before they reach the age of 65.To clarify matters, wholly, the SSA does not call for you to become permanently disabled. In all actuality, it has never been an issue at all in SSA whether a person's disability is or can become permanent.So what is indeed the definition of SSA and its policy regarding disability?Basically, the SSA and the federal law, as cited in the 42 U.S.C. 423(d)(1)(A) and 1382c(a)(3)(A) 42 U.S.C. 423(d)(1)(A) and 1382c(a)(3)(A) defines disability as the incapacity to work or become involved in any kind of "substantial gainful activity" due to any mental or physical impairment. This impairment must be determined or diagnosed by medical authorities and could be expected to lead to death or might last continuously up to 12 months.This definition debunks all myths claiming that disability needs to be total and permanent. You can be eligible for disability benefits once your impairment as diagnosed by doctors has prevented you to work for 12 months and more already. It is time to reassess your case now and reinforce your disability benefits claims.

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