How Social Security Defines “Disability” If You Want to Win Your Social Security Disability Claim
Just because your doctor says your are disabled or you can't hold a job because of your disability, doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to Social Security Disability benefits! How do you qualify for benefits?
The Social Security Act defines disability for adults as "the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which can be expected to end in death of which has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."
Sounds straight forward right? Well, unfortunately you can't rely on common sense to determine if you are disabled under the social security law.
Let's look at several examples:
1. A 49 year old concrete helper who had done heavy unskilled work with a 5th grade education, who is limited to sedentary work because of a heart condition, is not disabled unless additional exertional limitations exist.
2. A 35 year old lawyer with 10 years of experience has a below the knee amputation as a result of an snowmobile accident. He has problems with his stump and has to use an electic cart. He would be considered disabled.
3. A 60 year long distance truck driver who has emphysema after smoking for 42 years can only do sedentary work because of his breathing problems is not disabled because he can work in an office.
4. A 52 year old factory worker has 4 stents placed in his heart and, 7 months later just before he is to go back to work at the factory, has an auto accident and breaks his leg. He is off work for 15 months. He does not meet the 12 month test because you cannot combine unrelated impairments.
Each case presents a unique application of the obtuse Social Security rules, regulations, and definitions. You might want to get help from a qualified attorney to assist you in determining whether you meet Social Security's definition of disability.
If you want to learn more about your rights to Social Security Disability benefits, contact St. Petersburg Social Security lawyer, Nancy Cavey by clicking the link or calling 727-894-3188.