Go to navigation Go to content
Toll-Free: 800.310.5520
Phone: 718.701.2776
The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

How Does Social Security Define “Disability”?

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

You can save time and effort when filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits if you know what is considered a "disability" by the standards of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

SSA Definition of Adult Disability 

SSA considers an adult disabled if they have a physical or mental injury or illness (or a combination) that prevents them from working. This condition must have lasted or is expected to last for at least 1 year. An injury or illness that is expected to result in death is also considered a disability.

SSA Definition of Disability for Children

A child is eligible for Social Security benefits if they have a physical or mental injury or illness (or a combination thereof) that causes severe limitations in how they function. These conditions must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 1 year or result in death. The child cannot be working at a job that is considered substantial work.

Determining Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security disability benefits are only considered for persons with total disability, not partial or short-term disability. The rules of the Social Security program generally assume that families have other resources to help cope with short-term or partial disability, such as Workers' Compensation and insurance.

When attempting to prove your disability, your New York Social Security disability lawyer can help you gather the proper documents to support your claim. A combination of medical records, treatment documentation, and doctors' analysis relating to your condition will be necessary if you want to claim full disability and be approved for Social Security disability benefits.

Your disability must be considered "medically determinable" meaning it results from an anatomical, physical or psychological abnormality. These abnormalities must be proven through medically acceptable diagnostic techniques performed by a licensed medical professional. Documentation of the signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings is necessary. A simple statement of symptoms from you or their physician is not sufficient.