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How does the SSA define 'disability'?

With so many physical and mental disabilities affecting Georgia residents, it can be difficult to discern which ones qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has clear criteria to determine whether someone's injury or illness meets their definition of 'disability.'

First and foremost, the SSA will look at your work history and your overall ability to work. You must have accumulated enough work credits over the course of your working life to qualify for benefits. The SSA will also look at your current work status. In most cases, a person who is currently working and earning over $1,180 a month will not fit the SSA's disability criteria.

The SSA will also look at whether you are able to do the work you did before the disability and whether you can adjust to other work with your condition. The SSA will consider your work experience, skills, education, age and other criteria to determine whether you are able to do other work. If your condition prevents you from doing your previous job or adjusting to a new one, you may qualify as disabled.

Next, the SSA will determine if your condition is severe. When you file your claim for Social Security disability benefits, you will need to provide as much information as possible about your condition, including how it affects your everyday life. The SSA will also refer to their list of medical conditions that are automatically considered severe enough to qualify as a disability. If your condition is on this list, the SSA will likely find that you are disabled.

If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will have to determine whether your condition is as severe as the ones on the list and whether it keeps you from substantial gainful activity. If your condition keeps you from doing basic work-related tasks such as sitting, remembering information, walking, etc. for one year or longer, you may meet the definition of disabled.

Meeting the SSA's disability criteria can be challenging. However, professional guidance is available to help you with your claim and increase your chances of qualifying for benefits.

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