Social Security basics: what is a “disability?”

How does Social Security define a disability?In order to qualify for disability benefits under Social Security you have to be found disabled.

Well, thank you Captain Obvious.

Ok. But, what does it mean to be disabled? Is it enough to have a medical impairment? Is the diagnosis, itself, enough?

In short, no.¬†Under Social Security regulations, it is not enough to have a medical condition. Your impairment(s) have to be severe enough to prevent you from being able to engage in a “Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).” In most cases, a Substantial Gainful Activity translates to full-time, competitive, employment.

The touchstone of a Social Security disability case is the question, “do your conditions keep you from being able to do some type of full-time work.”

Read these articles for more information about work and employment and how Social Security applies Substantial Gainful Activity in disability cases.

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Tomasz Stasiuk

Disability and Estate Planning Attorney - Visit me at