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The Definition of Disability Used by the Social Security Administration

The SSA regulations and law defines disability as the instability to handle any substantial and gainful activity because of any medically determinable status. It can be physical or mental impairment expected to result in the victim’s death or expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months and above.

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits or fight for yours when the SSA determines that you’re not eligible or when they say your benefits should stop is seamless when working with qualified social security disability lawyers. According to the disability evaluation and qualification for benefits under the Social Security Administration laws and regulations, the program is divided into sections to determine and define disability easily.  The categorization comes into subsections comprising of:

General Information– This is usually the program description section. According to this section, the Social Security Administration employs or administers two programs working to offer benefits based on the disability status in question. First, the program deals with the Social Security insurance program, which is entitled section two of the Social Security Act, and secondly, the Supplemental Security Income {SSI} entitled section sixteen of the act.

Section two provides payment of disability benefits to disabled people who are insured under the act following the virtue of their contributions to the Social Security trust fund through the amount of their Social Security taxes on their earnings and specifically disabled dependents of insured individuals. On the other hand, section sixteen provides payment to disabled people, including children under 18, and limited resources and income.

The Definition of Disability Per Every Section of the Program

For all people applying for disability benefits under section two of the Social Security disability benefits program and adults applying under section sixteen of the program, disability is defined the same. Based on these two sections, disability is defined as the inability to engage and handle any substantial and gainful activity because of any medically determinable condition. The said condition, in this case, disability, can be a physical or mental impairment that is expected to lead to the death of the victim or permanently last for a continuous period of about 12 months and above.

Also, under section sixteen of the program, disability in children is defined differently from adults. According to this section, a child under 18 years is considered disabled if they have a medically determinable condition which is also mental or physical, or a combination of both. The same is linked to the understanding that until the state is expected to cause death to the victim or last for about 12 months and more for it to be genuinely accepted as a disability condition that qualifies for compensation under the SSA program. Still, once disability statuses are defined, SSA regulations don’t settle to start paying disability benefits until other terms are defined, such as medically determinable disability. A medically determinable disability or impairment is a disability that results from psychological, physiological, and anatomical abnormalities that are medically acceptable based on clinical and laboratory diagnoses.


As you can imagine, the definition of disability according to the Social Security Administration is far much different from the typical definition of disability. As such, the best way to understand everything there is about disability and know whether you qualify for disability benefits is by working with qualified social security disability lawyers.