I Have A Disability, But Am I Disabled?
Not all disabilities are disabling. The definition of disability through Social Security is often different than how private disability insurance policies and state disability pensions define disability. It is very important to understand what makes someone disabled in the eyes of Social Security before deciding to file a claim for those benefits.
While you may have a health limitation that affects you in many ways, it may not be disabling according to Social Security. Social Security Disability benefits are intentionally difficult to get. Not only must you be incapable of performing the work that you have generally done, your health condition(s) must also generally keep you from performing any type of job, regardless of whether that job is something you have trained for, is available in your community, or pays the same wage as the work you have done before. It also has to be a health condition that will be disabling for at least 12 consecutive months or result in death. For the full details you can read the law here: § 404.1505. Basic definition of disability.
There are also several exceptions to the rule. For instance, there are rules designed to make it easier to qualify for Social Security Disability for individuals who are over age 50 or over age 55 and have a specific work and/or educational background. You may have heard someone mention the “Grid” rules for Social Security, which layout exactly how your work and school background may allow you to be found disabled without having to meet the burden of proving that there isn’t any job in the economy that you are capable of doing. You can read more on the “Grid Rules” here.
As a board certified Social Security Disability Specialist, I can help you determine when and if your disabilities have become severe enough for Social Security to find that you are disabled.