To qualify for social security disability in North Carolina or Virginia, you must first meet a number of eligibility requirements. A number of those eligibility requirements pertain to your income and your work history. Several others, however, pertain to your injury itself. The Social Security Administration’s Benefits Planner explains what the SSA means by “disability” and how the administration decides if you are, in fact, disabled.

The SSA defines a disability as an injury that prevents you from performing the work you did prior to sustaining the damage. To qualify, you must not be able to adjust to any other work because of your condition and your disability must have lasted, or the doctor expects it to last, for at least one year, if not result in death. The SSA is so strict in its definition because it assumes that families have access to other means during the recovery period.

When determining if you qualify as disabled, the SSA will seek to answer five questions. The first is, are you working? If you are able to work, an if your average earnings total more than $1,220 a month, then the SSA will not consider you disabled.

The next question the SSA will ask is, is your injury severe? If your harm limits your ability to perform basic functions such as lifting, walking, standing or sitting, the administration may consider you disabled. In this case, the SSA would then move on to step three.

Next, the administration will question whether it can find your condition on the list of medication conditions it considers so severe they keep a person from acquiring substantial gainful employment. If your ailment is not on the list, the SSA will question whether it is as hindering as a condition that is on the list. If it is, you are, by the government’s standards, disabled. If not, the SSA will move on to step four.

In step four, the SSA will question whether your impairment thwarts you from performing tasks you did in your last job. If it does not, you are not disabled. However, if it does, the association will proceed to step five.

In step five, the administration will question whether you can do any other type of work despite your condition. When determining this, it will consider several factors, including your age, health, education, previous work history and transferrable skills you possess. If you cannot do any other work, the association will officially consider you disabled.

This content is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.