To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits you must meet Social Security’s definition of disability. Social Security defines disability as no longer able to perform a “substantial” amount of work (called substantial gainful activity) as the result of a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months, or possibly result in death. To Social Security, substantial gainful activity is making $1,220 or more per month, before taxes. There are three ways to meet Social Security’s definition of disability.
- Meet a Listing: A shortcut to satisfying Social Security’s definition of disability is for a person’s disability or impairment to meet the level of severity described in the Social Security medical listings book (called the Listing of Impairments). This is the manual that describes dozens of conditions, ranging from arthritis and anxiety to asthma, heart failure, and depression. Satisfying the severity criteria quoted in the listing book will guarantee a disability approval.
- An Inability to preform Substantial Gainful Activity:
- a. First, Social Security will look if you’re capable of doing your last job, or past jobs you’ve had in the past 15 years.
- b. If you cannot perform your past jobs, SS will see if you can do any job taking into consideration your limitations, your age, your level of education, and the type of skills you learned in the past.