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How does Social Security define disability?

Social Security’s definition of disability states that an individual must have a serious impairment that has lasted (or can be expected to last) for at least one year or is expected to end in death. The medical condition must be severe enough that it prevents you from engaging in what is known as substantial and gainful activity.

Under that definition, your medical condition must be 100 percent disabling, and your medical records must show that you will be disabled for at least one year or your disabling condition will result in death. The disability qualifications for SSD and SSI are not for short-term or temporary disabilities. Future evaluations will be done periodically to determine if your condition still satisfies the requirements.

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