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How is disability defined when applying for SSD benefits?

When people in Florida and across the country are in a position where they are injured or ill and their issues are leaving them with an inability to work, they will frequently consider filing for Social Security disability. Before filing, however, it's imperative that those who are seeking SSD benefits understand exactly what is meant by "disability" and what factors have to be in place to receive an approval when applying.

Prior to applying, a claimant must know that there is no granting of benefits for partial disability or for a disability that is only going to last for a short time. According to federal regulations, Social Security disability will only be paid to those who are totally disabled. The definition of the word "disability" is based on an individual's ability or inability to work. If the person can't work due to an injury or illness, they have a chance to be declared disabled and to receive SSD benefits.

For an individual to be granted benefits, he or she must: not be able to do the same work that he or she did previously; the decision is made that the claimant can't adjust to different kinds of employment; and the disability is expected to last for at least twelve months or will culminate in the death of the claimant. The definition that is provided here is a strict one. There is an assumption by the Social Security Administration that working individuals or families will have access to various resources to provide assistance if there is a short-term disability. These include workers' compensation benefits and personal income or savings that can be used to get through the time that the person cannot work.

Of course, those who believe they are disabled and cannot work have the right to apply for SSD benefits regardless of whether or not they're certain that they fulfill the baseline requirements. Even if there is a denial, there are options to appeal the decision. A key to receiving benefits can be proper legal advice. For that, the first call a person who is seeking benefits should make is to a qualified legal professional with experience in Social Security disability cases.

Source: SSA.gov, "Disability Planner: What We Mean By Disability," accessed on Dec. 8, 2014

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