What is the definition of “disability” under the Social Security Act?

What is the definition of “disability” under the Social Security Act?

As defined under the Social Security Act, the term “Disabled” means:

  • Unable to consistently perform full-time work
  • Due to medically-determinable physical or mental impairments
  • Or a combination of impairments
  • That will last one year or result in death

The medical disability standard for DIB and SSI is the same: “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a); see also, 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a) (SSI).

“To meet this definition, you must have a severe impairment(s) that makes you unable to do your past relevant work . . . or any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a); see also, 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a) (SSI).

Under the Medical-Vocational Guidelines (a/k/a Grid Rules), the definition of disability can be modified for individuals age 50 and over depending on their education and work history.

As you can see from the above summary, determining whether you are disabled under the Social Security Act is a complicated process. That’s why you should consult with the experienced and knowledgeable lawyers at Matthew D. Lane, Jr. before making any decisions.

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