How Is Disability Defined by Social Security?
Social Security uses a very strict definition of disability. You must meet all of these conditions:
- You can’t earn over a certain amount of money from work. In 2018, that amount was an average of $1,180 per month. (However, you can have an income higher than that if it’s from non-work income). If your work earnings are over the limit, Social Security considers you able to work and therefore not disabled.
- Your disability must have significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related functions, such as standing, sitting, walking, and being able to remember.
- These limits must be expected to last for at least a year.
- Social Security has a list of medical conditions that it considers serious enough to be qualifying disabilities. Your condition must either be on the list or be as serious, in Social Security’s evaluation, as the conditions on the list.
- You must not be able to do any type of work that you have done in the past.
- You must also not be able to do any other type of work despite your disability. Social Security takes into account your age, work experience, skills, and education in making this evaluation.