Under Social Security regulations, disability is the inability to engage in a “substantial gainful activity.” This means if you want to win your Social Security disability case, you have to show that your impairments prevent you from being able to work.
- You have to show that you are unable to perform the duties of any work you have performed over the past 15 years.
- AND that you are unable to perform the duties of any other full-time work that exists in substantial numbers in the national economy.
Note: these are steps 4 and 5 of the sequential evaluation process.
The general rule is that if you can still perform the duties of a job, you are not disabled. Note: this is a very simplified definition and there are a number of significant exceptions including whether the job is a substantial gainful activity, the effects of your age, etc. Right now though, I want you to understand the main issue in Social Security disability cases.
What DOESN’T Social Security consider when looking at your ability to work?
- Social Security does not consider whether the kinds of jobs you can perform are available in your area.
- Social Security does not consider if employers are hiring.
- Social Security does not consider if you can get hired.
Phew! That’s a tough standard!