disability sign on the ground
By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Understanding how disability is defined for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) purposes is crucial for those seeking benefits in Florida. The process of applying for SSDI benefits can be complex, and understanding the criteria for disability is the first step. In this article, we will explore how disability is defined for SSDI purposes, shed light on the criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and explain how Disability Advocates Group can assist Florida residents in navigating this process.

Defining Disability

The SSA follows a specific definition of disability when evaluating SSDI applications. According to the SSA, you are considered disabled if:

  1. You cannot do the work you did before due to your medical condition.
  2. You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
  3. Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

This definition underscores that SSDI benefits are intended for individuals with long-term disabilities that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), which refers to the ability to work and earn a certain income.

Understanding the Severity of Your Condition

To be considered disabled, your medical condition must be severe enough to interfere with basic work-related activities. The SSA maintains a list of impairments known as the “Blue Book” that outlines various medical conditions and their severity criteria. Meeting the criteria in the Blue Book can streamline the approval process. However, not all conditions are listed, and you can still qualify if your condition is equivalent in severity to those listed.

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment

If your condition does not meet the Blue Book’s criteria, the SSA will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. This assessment determines your ability to perform work-related tasks despite your medical condition. It evaluates your capacity for physical and mental activities, such as lifting, standing, concentrating, and interacting with others.

Proving the Duration of Your Disability

To be eligible for SSDI, your disability must have lasted or be expected to last for at least one year. This duration requirement is vital. If you expect your disability to last less than a year, you may not qualify for SSDI benefits. However, it’s often challenging to predict the exact duration of a medical condition, so providing comprehensive medical documentation is crucial.

Disability Advocates Group: Your Partners in the SSDI Process

Navigating the SSDI application process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when you’re dealing with a severe medical condition. Disability Advocates Group is here to assist Florida residents in their SSDI journey. Here’s how we can help:

  1. Assessment and Guidance: Our experienced attorneys can assess your case and provide guidance on whether you meet the SSA’s disability criteria.
  2. Medical Evidence: We work with you to gather comprehensive medical evidence that supports your disability claim, ensuring that the severity and duration of your condition are well-documented.
  3. Blue Book Criteria: If your condition matches the criteria in the Blue Book, we can help you compile the necessary evidence to expedite the approval process.
  4. RFC Assessment: If your condition is not listed in the Blue Book, we assist in building a strong RFC assessment, highlighting how your condition affects your ability to work.
  5. Appeals: In the unfortunate event of a denial, we provide expert representation in appeals, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

Understanding how disability is defined for SSDI purposes is the foundation of a successful benefits application in Florida. While navigating this process can be challenging, Disability Advocates Group is here to simplify it for you. We understand the complexities, the importance of medical evidence, and the need for a well-structured case. If you believe you meet the SSA’s disability criteria, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let us be your advocates in securing the benefits you need and deserve. Disability Advocates Group is here to help you every step of the way.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.