What is a Disability?

June 12th, 2014 | by RON BELL

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program are federal government programs.  Both offer medical insurance called Medicare and cash benefits to those who are disabled and under the current retirement age of 62 years.  Disabled individuals must meet the Social Security Administration (SSA) definition of  being medically “disabled”.  The SSA defines an individual as being “disabled” if an individual, including a child, has a medical diagnoses that prevents them from performing “substantial gainful activity”.  The SSA defines “substantial gainful activity” as employment, volunteer work or school.  Furthermore, the medical condition must be severe enough that it has lasted or will last at least 12 months.

Many injured individuals apply for SSDI benefits and are not approved.  A medical doctor may diagnose a person with an illness or injury and consider them to be “disabled”, but it will not guarantee a SSDI application will be approved.   SSA has their own professionals on staff that review each application and make the approvals and denials.  An application for disability must be submitted to the SSA along with medical proof such as supporting medical records, work records, statements from co-workers and family members.

Most claims are not approved with the first or second application, and many deserving disabled Americans denied.  This is one reason it’s highly advisable to contact a disability attorney in New Mexico prior to filing out a Social Security disability application.  The SSI attorney can prepare your application to ensure it’s complete, and is able to even file appeals if necessary.  In the event, an appeal is denied your case can be brought in front of a Social Security judge who will make the final determination.  The injury attorney who is experienced in disability law can represent you in front of the judge and cross exam witnesses to prove your case.

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