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How the U.S. Social Security Administration defines “disability”

Having a serious disability can make it substantially harder to find and maintain gainful employment, and in some cases, it can make doing so virtually impossible. If you count yourself among the many residents of Pennsylvania that have disabilities severe enough to prevent them from earning a reasonable living, you may be working to obtain assistance from the U.S. Social Security Administration.

For your application for disability benefits to prove successful, though, you will first need to prove to the administration that you meet its strict definition of the term “disability.” What might this look like?

Defining “disability”

In order for you to potentially qualify for disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, you must have logged a certain amount of work credits within a Social Security-covered position. The exact number of work credits you will need can vary from year to year, and the number of work credits you need will also vary based on the age at which you became disabled.

If you do have a significant enough work history to qualify for benefits, the next thing you will need to do is demonstrate that your disability is severe enough to warrant governmental assistance. The administration does not pay out disability benefits for disabilities that are relatively minor or for disabilities that may improve over time. Instead, disability benefits are available only to those with the most serious and debilitating disabilities.

Proving the inability to work 

To qualify, you will need to prove several things. First, you will need to demonstrate that your disability should worsen over time or ultimately lead to your death. Second, you will need to show that your disability prevents you from performing the work you once did and that it also keeps you from reasonably adjusting to a different set of work duties than those you once performed.

If your condition and situation meet these strict terms, you may be able to qualify for benefits. Keep in mind, however, that many applicants have their initial disability benefits claimed denied. Many ultimately find success, though, through filing appeals.

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