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What is Disability?

Definition of Disability

Social Security Disability benefits are awarded to claimants through two federally administered disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. To be determined "disabled" a claimant must be mentally or physically impaired and unable to do any work they have done in the past 15 years. Claimants who are unable to perform past work will be evaluated further to determine if they could be retrained to perform any other work they are qualified to perform (given their age, work experience and education). Additionally, their mental or physical health condition must be expected to last for at least one year or result in the claimant's death. The Social Security Administration does not pay disability benefits to Social Security Disability claimants who are partially disabled or whose condition is not expected to last for at least one year.

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