SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY LAW

For Social Security Disability, disability is based on your inability to work. The Social Security Act defines disability as a "person's inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months". The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider you disabled if: (1) You cannot do the work that you did before; (2) The SSA decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and (3) Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

 

This definition of disability is strictly enforced. Social Security pays benefits only for total disability, so no benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, such as workers' compensation, private insurance, savings and investments.

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