What Does Social Security Administration Mean by Disability?

The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability. For an individual to qualify for benefits they must meet total disability. No benefits are available for partial or short-term disability.

Under Social Security, disability comes from an individual’s inability to work. The agency determined the following before forming a decision:

  • The individual is unable to perform the same work they did before.
  • Social Security Administration decides that the individual cannot adjust to other work because of a medical condition(s).
  • The individual’s disability has lasted for at least one year or result in death.

The Social Security program has the strictest rules for disability benefits and is not similar to other programs available. SSA assumes a family has other resources and access to other agencies for short-term disabilities, included but not limited to insurance, workers’ compensation and personal savings.



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