Am I Disabled?

When it comes to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, many people wonder, “am I disabled?” Some people believe that if they cannot work, they automatically qualify for benefits. Unfortunately, that is not always true.

In a nutshell, the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disability” as being unable to participate in any “substantial gainful activity” due to some medically determined physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which will last for a continuous period of 12 months or more. Based on this definition, the SSA will look at several areas to determine whether you are “disabled” in its eyes. It is generally a five-step process.

Are you working?

If you work and earn more than a certain amount each month, the SSA will not likely consider you to be disabled. For 2016, you cannot make more than $1130.00/month. The amount changes from year-to-year.

Is your condition severe?

Your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities for at least one year or more. work activities include walking, sitting, standing, bending, and remembering  If your medical condition is not severe, SSA will not likely consider you disabled.

Is your condition on the List of Impairments?

The SSA’s List of Impairments describes medical conditions so severe that they automatically qualify someone as disabled.

Can you do the work you did before?

The SSA will decide if your condition prevents you from being able to do the work you did before. If it does not, the SSA will not consider you disabled.

Can you do any other types of work?

If you cannot do the work you did before, the SSA will look to see if you are able to do ANY other work based on your medical condition, age, education, and any skills you may have. If you can do other work, you are not disabled.

As you can see, the SSD application process is challenging. If you have been denied, speak with an attorney about your legal rights!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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