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Legal Help for Disability Claims in Monroeville

What Does “Disability” Mean?

What constitutes a disability for purposes of eligibility for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is extremely technical and specific. What may seem to be a ”disability” as that term is commonly used or as defined in other areas of the law is not the same as “disability” under Social Security. A determination that a claimant is not disabled as defined by the law is the most common reason claims for Social Security benefits are denied.

Only Total Disability May Qualify You for Social Security Benefits

Under Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines, disability is strictly defined in the context of total disability. Partial disability or short-term disability will not qualify for benefits.


The key determinations as to whether someone is “disabled” revolve around the ability to work. The SSA will consider you “disabled” if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • SSA decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

How the SSA Determines Eligibility for Benefits

The SSA makes its decisions regarding benefits by going through a step-by-step process that involves asking you the following questions:

  • Are you working?

The SSA does not define totally disabled as unable to perform any work. The claimant can work while he or she has applied for disability and even after an award of disability is given. However, that work cannot be deemed to be “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). Whether work is considered SGA is determined by the amount of monthly earnings. The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2014 is $1,800. For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2014 is $1,070.

  • Is your condition “severe”? In other words, does it “interfere with basic work-related activities”?
  • Is your condition found in the SSA’s list of disabling conditions?

The SSA uses a list of medical conditions to determine which ailments are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA then has to decide whether it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list.

  • Is your condition preventing you from doing the work that you did before?
  • Can you do any other kind of work? That is, are you unable to adjust to other work because of your medical conditions?

If the SSA determines that the answer is “yes” to all of those questions, you will likely be considered “disabled” and your claim for benefits approved. However, getting to “yes” is often complicated, requires extensive documentation and other evidence, and is fraught with evidentiary and procedural pitfalls that can result in significant delays or the denial of your claim (link to The Claims Process) altogether.

At Green Disability Law, we guide our clients through every step of the process, giving them the best chance of a successful claim and getting the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.

Disclaimer: The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

This website has been prepared by Green Disability Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.


953 Dauphin St.
Mobile,  AL  36604
Phone:  251-433-1737
307 South McKenzie St., Suite 108
Foley,  AL  36535
Phone:  251-433-1737
201 Office Park Building, Suite 4
65 Pineville Road
Monroeville,  AL  36460
Phone:  251-575-3753
123 McIntyre Street
Evergreen,  AL   36401
Phone:  251-575-3753

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