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Social Security Disability Definition for Beginners

by Megan Roth5 min read
Social Security Disability Definition - what to know

If one wants to enjoy the benefits and help associated with Social Security including disability, it’s best to understand the rules and conditions that come with it. An understanding of the rules and definition will save you from confusion, and will help you maximize the benefits for personal gain and protection. Under the program provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are two kinds of benefits associated with disability- the Social Security disability insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Although these are benefits connected to disability, keep in mind that there are specific rules and Social Security disability definition that govern both packages. The first benefit, the insurance program, offers payment of benefits to disabled persons that are insured under the Act, thanks to their contributions to the trust fund, through their earnings. The second benefit package on the other hand provide payments to disabled individuals which include children under 18 years of age, with limited access to resources and income. While both may differ in terms of coverage, these benefit packages are anchored on the concept of disability.


This is Social Security disability definition
Social Security disability definition that you should know


Social Security disability definition– Official definition and disability in children

Applicants for both benefit packages will rely on the same Social Security disability definition, as explained on the official website of the agency. According to the law, disability refers to that condition where a person can no longer perform or get involved in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of mental impairment or medically determinable physical condition which can result to death, or can lasts for not less than 12 months.


In the quest for application and approval, applicants will encounter the term ‘medically determinable impairment’. Under the Social Security disability definition, the medically determinable physical and mental impairment is an impairment on the person that developed from physiological, anatomical and psychological abnormalities that can be validated by laboratory diagnostic results and techniques. The medical evidences and laboratory results should show that the person (applicant) has physical or mental impairment. Simply saying that the person has shown some symptoms is not enough and will not be used as the basis for the approval of the application.



Disability in children

The Social Security Administration also covers children who are under 18 years of age. They may be considered ‘disabled ‘if they have medically determinable mental or physical condition or a combination of both which can severely impact the capacity of that person to perform or conduct work. The same definition and rules also apply to those 18 years age and below, that the condition can lead to death, and the medical condition will lasts for more than 12 months.


With a complete understanding of the disability definition and the basic rules that come with it, it will be easier for the individual to enjoy the benefit. This will also help facilitate the application process, and help the applicant prepare the necessary documents and medical evidences that are required to establish the mental condition or physical ailment.


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