Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

A closer look at how disability is defined for SSD benefits

It is helpful to have a practical understanding of Social Security disability benefits and how to qualify for them. The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can seem daunting which is why understanding the process can help dispel some of those concerns or anxieties to help ensure disabled individuals in need seek and apply for the benefits they need.

The definition of disability that the Social Security Administration uses when evaluating SSD benefits can be viewed as strict. Under the rules, an applicant for Social Security disability benefits is considered disabled if they are unable to perform the work they did prior to the disability; the SSA determines that their medical condition prevents them from adjusting to other work; and that the disability is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. This is because SSD benefits are not designed to be for partial disability of short-term disability needs.

It is helpful to be familiar with how the SSA evaluates applications for SSD benefits and to know how to provide the medical records necessary to establish eligibility for benefits. Once an applicant has successfully qualified for benefits, the SSA must review their medical condition to ensure they continue to qualify for benefits. In general, if the disabled individual's disability keeps them from working, or their health has not improved, they will continue to be eligible to receive benefits. Medical records will need to be gathered and reviewed as part of this process and what the medical tests show, what treatments they receive and if their medical condition limits their activities will all be evaluated.

SSD benefits are an important resource for disabled individuals who are unable to work because of their disability and the medical condition they suffer from. While the definition of disability may be strict, understanding how to demonstrate a disability is useful information for disabled individuals seeking benefits to have.

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