This is part of an ongoing series of Social Security Disability posts from Attorney Dennis Liotta, partner and the manager of our law firm's Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability Departments.
According to the Social Security Disability Act, a disability is the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." Under this act, disabled people are entitled to Social Security disability benefits, granted they meet certain conditions.
The first step in the SSD claims process is determining whether or not you meet the criteria for being disabled. You must be diagnosed with having what the government calls a "medically determinable impairment." This means that you have a physical or mental disability resulting from an anatomical, physiological, or psychological condition that can be medically diagnosed. Your disability must be established by medical evidence that consists of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings. Our law firm's web site lists some common impairments.
After it has been decided that you have a medically determinable impairment, you can apply for SSD benefits as soon as you become disabled. In my next post I will detail the application process, including the criteria that you must meet under the Social Security Act to apply for disability benefits and how long you can expect to wait for a response after your application has been submitted.