Defining Social Security Disability

Individuals filing for disability often are very uncertain about many aspects of the process, and can easily feel overwhelmed. One question clients often ask is what definition of disability the Social Security Administration uses in the SSD and SSDI claims and appeals process. San Jose Social Security attorney Terry LaPorte helps his clients understand whether their condition meets the SSA’s definition of disability.

The Social Security Administration’s Definition of Disability
There are certain factors taken into account in determining eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. For a finding of disability, it is necessary to meet the following criteria:

  1. There must be a “medically determinable” mental or physical impairment shown by clinical or laboratory findings. The Social Security Administration will not award SSI or SSDI benefits based on symptoms alone.
  2. The impairment(s) must last, or be expected to last, at least 12 consecutive months.
  3. The impairment(s) must prevent the person from performing any job carried out in the last 15 years.
  4. The impairment(s) must preclude the person under age 50 from performing the least demanding full-time job which exists in significant numbers in the U.S. economy; OR
  5. The impairment(s) must prevent the person over age 50, taking into account age (using categories at ages 50, 55, and 60) and other vocational factors, from using any work skills learned from past work in other, less demanding full-time jobs which exist in significant numbers in the economy.

San Jose Social Security attorney Terry LaPorte reviews this list of eligibility factors with his clients in preparing their SSI and SSDI claims and appeals.

Other Issues that May Arise in during the SSI or SSDI Claim or Appeal
If current use of alcohol or drugs is a material contributing factor to the disability, such that the individual would not be disabled only by the effects of the primary medical conditions, there cannot be a finding of benefit eligibility. It doesn’t matter if past alcohol or drug use caused the disability in the first place. Current alcohol or drug use is primarily problematic in claims involving psychiatric or emotional impairment. San Jose Social Security lawyer Terry LaPorte can address these issues in the initial client consultation.

Speak to an Experienced San Jose Social Security Attorney

If you have questions regarding an SSI or SSDI claim or appeal, an experienced San Jose Social Security attorney can help. Call LaPorte Law Firm at 800-735-3425 for a free consultation today.