TN 1 (10-12)

DI 00115.015 Definitions of Disability

Citations:

Social Security Act, Section 216(i) , Section 223(d)(1) , and Section 1614(a)(3)(C)

20 CFR 404.1505 , 416.905 , 416.906

For all persons applying for disability benefits under title II, and for adults applying under title XVI, the definition of disability is the same.

A. Definition of disability for adults

Under title II and title XVI, we consider a person disabled under Social Security rules if he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments):

  • that prevents him or her from doing any substantial gainful activity (SGA), and

  • has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death.

NOTE: The definition of disability also applies to persons applying for child’s insurance benefits based on disability before age 22 and for disability benefits payable after December 1990 as a widow(er) or surviving divorced spouse.

B. Definition of disability for children under age 18

Under title XVI, we consider a child under age 18 disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • the child has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that:

    • causes marked and severe functional limitations;

    • has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death; and

  • the child is not doing any SGA.

C. Definition of blindness

There are different rules for determining disability for persons who are statutorily blind. See information on the definition of blindness in DI 26001.001.

D. Reference

DI 10501.001 Meaning of SGA and Scope of Subchapter


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0400115015
DI 00115.015 - Definitions of Disability - 10/11/2012
Batch run: 10/11/2012
Rev:10/11/2012