Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may serve as your lifeline when you’re unable to work for a significant amount of time. This could be due to a long-term or permanent disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a unique definition of disability, and it’s important to understand this definition as well as the role of the Blue Book. Both are essential to determine your eligibility for benefits, whether your disability is physical or mental.
What does the SSA mean by disability?
The SSA has a strict definition of disability. To qualify for SSDI benefits, your medical condition must meet these criteria. Notably, the SSA’s definition of disability differs from other programs; it provides benefits only for total disability, not for partial or short-term disability.
This means you must have a medical condition that:
- Prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA)
- Prevents you from doing the work you did before or adjusting to other work
- Has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or is expected to result in death
The SSA’s Blue Book lists medical conditions considered disabling. If your condition isn’t on the list, you may still qualify if you prove your illness is as severe as one of the listed conditions. But if the SSA determines your condition will improve quickly, you won’t qualify for SSDI benefits.
Considerations before applying for benefits
SSDI is a valuable program. It offers income and protection to workers in industries like construction who cannot work due to disabilities. The requirements and the application process for SSDI benefits may seem complex. However, understanding the basics and determining if you qualify can help build a persuasive case for your eligibility. If you need help, you can consult a lawyer experienced in the Social Security system to support you in securing the benefits you need.