What Does Disability Mean According to the Social Security Administration?
Obviously, the Social Security Act, the Regulations, the voluminous policy statements made by Social Security, federal court cases, etc., are far too extensive to completely review in a short article, but it is possible to give some useful information about this question without referring a claimant to law books and the regulations.
If you are under 50 years of age, you must show that you cannot perform any type of work that exists in the national economy to qualify for benefits. When people describe their disability to us, they talk about it by stating they are unable to do the type of work that they used to do, cannot find work they would rather do, or that there are no jobs available where they live. While these are certainly reasonable things to think about during a job search, none of them have any relevance whatsoever to how a Social Security Disability case is decided for a person who is less than 50 years old. This is a difficult standard to meet, but not impossible. This type of case usually requires careful preparation and presentation to be successful, and we recommend that such a person work with an attorney on the case as soon as possible.
Social Security defines “work” as a full-time activity. Therefore, even if there is some type of work a person could do part-time or on a sporadic basis, that person can still claim that he or she is disabled. Also, Social Security Disability law acknowledges that employers expect their employees to show up for work on a regular basis, and to be productive while they are at work at least 90% of the time. So, for instance, if a person would be likely to miss work on a regular basis because of a provable medical condition, then this would present a strong claim for disability. Also, if a person is usually able to make it to work, but cannot stay focused for six to eight hour periods, or needs frequent rest breaks during the day in excess of the typical morning and afternoon break period, that person would also have a strong claim for disability.
Read more about definition of disability for people over 50 HERE.