Social Security has rigid definition of ‘disability’

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2014 | Uncategorized

Let’s say that after many years of work in a certain industry, you fall ill and you are unable to work. It is determined that your medical condition will never truly go away. You are disabled, and even though you can’t do the work you did before and though your condition will persist until death, you are informed by the Social Security Administration that you will not receive Social Security disability benefits. Why would that be?

Unfortunately, but understandably, the Social Security Administration has three basic rules that must be met in order for an applicant to receive Social Security disability payments:

  • You can’t do the work you did previously
  • Your disability will last for at least one year, or your disability will cause your death
  • The SSA determines that your disability prevents you from adjusting to other work

That last rule is quite significant. All three criteria must be met, and if the SSA makes a subjective call that says you are indeed able to adjust to other work even with your disability, then you won’t receive the benefits they offer.

This can be a heartbreaking and tough ruling to hear for someone with a disability that truly is a disability — but not a disability by SSA standards. However, there are steps that can be taken by the person living with the disability who just had his or her disability claim denied. You can appeal the decision, and if your appeal is organized and well-prepared, you may find that the SSA reverses its original decision.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Planner: What We Mean By Disability,” Accessed July 22, 2014

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