What does Social Security mean by “totally disabled”?

What Does Social Security Mean By “Totally Disabled”

If you can’t work because of your health, you might have heard about benefits that cover “partial disability.” Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) , however, only recognize total disability.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs assigns percentage ratings to its disability benefits for people who served in the armed forces. And workers’ compensation insurance has partial disability categories for people who were hurt on the job.

As far as the Social Security Administration (SSA) is concerned, you either have a disability that prevents you from working a substantial amount, or you don’t.

Social Security’s definition of disability is strict.

But you don’t have to figure out on your own how it applies to your situation.

When health problems and income loss disrupt your life, Waco Attorney Merryl Jones helps you win benefits – and ease your mind.

We’ll evaluate your case for free.

Social Security’s Definition of Disability

Here is when Social Security considers you to have a qualifying disability:

  • Your health makes it impossible for you to continue in your past work.
  • You cannot adjust to new work because of your health.
  • Your medical condition is expected to last a year or more, or result in death.

This is why Social Security doesn’t recognize partial or short-term disability, according to the SSA itself:

“Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments.”

How Does Social Security Decide if I Can Work?

Because Social Security’s definition of disability hinges on your ability to work, it’s method for deciding what kind of job you can hold is crucial to your case.

Social Security applies a concept called “substantial gainful activity.”

The SSA breaks it into two parts:

  • “Substantial” means you can perform significant physical or mental exertion.
  • “Gainful activity” means you can perform work for pay, work that people generally do for money or work meant to generate income, whether it does or not.

To decide whether you’re capable of substantial gainful activity, Social Security looks at how much you can earn.

The amount changes over time. In 2017, the agency said you must be able to earn less than $1,170 per month to qualify for SSDI benefits.

So it’s possible to work limited amounts and still receive disability benefits.

To learn more, talk to disability attorney Merryl Jones.  She has offices in Waco and Temple, and services clients throughout Central Texas.

Call us at 800-749-3612.

What Else Do I Need to Win Social Security Disability Benefits?

For SSDI benefits, you also must demonstrate you have a substantial recent work history and earned enough “work credits” leading up to the date when your health no longer allowed you to work.

Another disability program run by Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), doesn’t require recent work history. SSI benefits could be for you if you have a disability and you lack work credits, income and assets.

Applying for benefits with Social Security – or appealing if you’re denied – is complicated.

So it can also make a big difference to have an experienced disability lawyer working for you

Merryl Jones makes it her mission to win Second Chances for people who have run into hard times because of medical problems and job losses.

She’s ready to help with your questions about partial disability, total disability, substantial gainful activity, or anything else about the process of applying for disability benefits.

Request your free case evaluation today.

Call us toll-free at 800-749-3612.