How Does The Social Security Administration (SSA) Define “Disability”?

To be considered disabled by SSA, for either social security disability or SSI disability benefits, a person must:

  • Have a severe impairment that is medically documented.
  • The impairment must either have lasted for a full year or be projected to last for a full year.
  • The impairment must be severe enough to prevent the individual from doing “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) and earning a “substantial and gainful income”, while doing either one of their former jobs (which could potentially be any of their past work performed within the last 15 jobs), or while doing some type of other work that they might be suited for based on their age, job skills, education, and functional capacity.

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