To qualify for Social Security disability benefits in Florida, you must first meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability.” Knowing that definition helps save time and the frustration that comes with an application denial.

The SSA breaks down how it defines a disability. Having access to current information speeds up the application and approval process for all parties involved.

What it means to have an SSA disability

The SSA defines a disability as, “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

What “medically determinable impairment” means

A physical or mental medically determinable impairment results from a mental, an anatomical or a physiological anomaly evidenced by the use of reputable laboratory and clinical diagnostic methods. While it is necessary to include a statement about the impairment on an SSD benefits application, medical proof must support that statement for you to receive benefits approval.

What the administration uses to determine disability

To reach a conclusion regarding your disability, the SSA uses a “sequential evaluation process.” Expect your current work activity to receive a review, if you can work, that is. The administration also evaluates the overall extent of your impairment, determining whether it matches a current SSA disability. The administration also considers your overall ability to carry out your past work duties, as well as whether you can perform other job duties that match your work history, education level and age while disabled.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.