How Do I Know If I’m Disabled?

The application process for disability benefits is often frustrating; it can often include numerous paperwork requirements and appeals, and take up a significant amount of time and money. With that in mind, it makes sense to file for disability benefits only if you are reasonably sure of being approved; to do that, you should know what the SSA standards for disability are, so that you can gauge whether or not you fit these standards. So how exactly can you know if you are disabled? According to the SSA, disabled people eligible for disability benefits meet the following requirements:

1. Your disability meets one of the descriptions set by the SSA.

For each category of disability, the SSA has specific guidelines for what can count as a disability. Depending on the nature of your illness or injury, it is helpful to check what the SSA counts as “disabled”. For example, the SSA stipulates that in order to see a stroke as a disability, the patient has “sensory or motor aphasia that results in ineffective speech or communication; or persistent significant disorganization of motor function in two extremities that causes constant disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.” Ultimately, you must have medical evidence to back up your assessment of your own disability; see a doctor in order to receive an official, clinical opinion of your condition.

2. Your condition prevents you from working.

The key reason to receive disability benefits is if your illness or injury prevents you from working and earning money above a certain amount each month (usually what is considered enough to sustain you and/or your family). You should evaluate (and receive a medical opinion on) whether or not you can do any amount of work; the SSA counts sedentary work (done without moving around) as work that can potentially earn you income, even with your disability.

3. Your condition prevents you from carrying out activities of daily life.

If you are unable to perform the tasks required of you in daily life (cooking, doing chores, driving, making important decisions, dealing with financial matters, or anything else that you do on a regular basis), you may be eligible for disability benefits. This extends to the ability to form or maintain social relationships, which may also be affected by a disability.

4. Your condition has persisted for at least one year.

In order to count as a disability, your condition must have lasted for at least a year prior to filing the paperwork, and medical treatment has to have been ineffectual (or at least unable to restore you to a condition in which you can complete substantial work). Click here to get additional info.