Social Security disability (SSD), developed in the 1930s, refers to benefits the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides to qualified disabled persons. These monthly cash benefits provide income for disabled children and adults and blind persons who are unable to work and earn a living due to an impairment.

What does the SSA consider a disability?

Unlike other disability and benefit programs that offer benefits to people with partial and very short-term disabilities, the SSA only provides SSD benefits to people who are totally disabled for a year or longer. To qualify for SSD, you must meet the SSA’s strict definition of disabled:

  • You must have an impairment listed in the SSA’s Blue Book and meet the appropriate severity criteria, or have an impairment severe enough to keep you from adjusting to any type of work.
  • You must have verifiable medical and non-medical evidence to establish your condition and support your claim.
  • Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last a year or longer or result in death.
  • You must be unable to engage in what the SSA refers to as “substantial gainful activity” or SGA, which essentially means earning more than a certain amount a month. In 2017, earning more than $1,170 means you are engaging in SGA and you do not qualify as disabled.

What types of disabilities qualify people for SSD?

The SSA divides its Blue Book into 14 different categories, including respiratory disorders, skin disorders, neurological disorders, mental disorders, and immune system disorders, among others. There are various types of physical and mental impairments that can qualify someone for SSD. Some common conditions from which SSD recipients suffer include:

To learn more about the conditions that the SSA considers disabling, you can review the Listing of Impairments. Remember, however, that even if your condition is not on the list, you may still qualify if your impairment(s) and symptoms prevent you from working.

What types of SSD benefits does the SSA offer?

The SSA offers two different types of disability benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI benefits are for disabled workers who have adequately paid into the Social Security system. SSI benefits are for disabled children and adults with limited work histories and limited income and assets.

Applicants for both SSDI and SSI must meet the aforementioned criteria for the SSA to deem them disabled. However, there are different financial and work history requirements for the two programs. Our team can help you determine if you meet the criteria.

Can Berger and Green help me apply for SSD?

Our attorneys at Berger and Green represent people living with all types of disabilities. We can help with all aspects of your claim, from initial filing to appeals. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Social Security disability lawyer in Pittsburgh: 412-661-1400.