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What kind of illness or injury qualifies a person for benefits?

Over the years, Georgia residents often settle into a certain day-to-day routine in their lives, from going through the morning commute to having a consistent schedule or environment at work. This daily routine can be completely upended if the person suffers a serious illness or injury that prevents them from carrying out regular daily activities.

Recently, this blog has discussed how changes in a person's life can impact their Social Security disability benefits. In fact, some changes must be reported to the Social Security Administration because they can impact SSD benefits.

Of course, these changes involve issues that occur after the person has received disability benefits. The biggest change in the person's life often involves the illness or disability that caused them to receive benefits in the first place.

In order to qualify for benefits, the disability or illness must be severe enough to render the person disabled. This means the condition must significantly limit the person's ability to perform basic work activities. This includes activities like lifting, standing, walking, sitting and mental abilities like remembering tasks. In addition, the limitation must typically last for at least 12 months.

If the person's condition is severe, the agency proceeds to look at whether the impairment meets a medical condition on the agency's list of impairments. The list consists of impairments that are considered severe enough that they prevent the person from completing substantial gainful activity, regardless of age, education or work experience. If the severity of the person's condition does not meet or equal a listed impairment, the person could still receive benefits if they cannot do the work they did before or any other type of work.

Ultimately, an illness or injury can be a major change in a person's life. However, the medical condition must be considered severe in order to warrant an award of disability benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability benefits," accessed on Nov. 5, 2016

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