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Am I Disabled?


Over 13 percent of the U.S. population, or some 42 million people, is disabled. In the everyday world, “disability” basically means a physical, emotional, or other impairment that significantly impairs at least one daily function, such as concentrating at work or walking up stairs. Usually, we associate disabilities with permanent conditions. Recovering surgical patients can’t climb stairs, but most people wouldn’t consider these individuals disabled.

“Disability” in the Social Security context has a very specific meaning, as outlined below. If you meet these criteria, a Tampa Social Security Disability lawyer can obtain substantial financial benefits in court. Unlike VA disability, Social Security disability is all or nothing. You’re disabled or you aren’t. In most cases, the monthly cash is more than sufficient to lift a family above the poverty line.

Inability to Find and Hold an SGE Job

The Substantial Gainful Employment test has two components. The first is objective and the second is subjective.

Objectively, an SGE job must pay enough to lift a disabled individual, and any dependents, above the poverty line. In 2023, the poverty line for a family of four is $2,500 per month. Usually, for SSD purposes, the disabled person must be capable of earning that much money. If dependents work, that’s great, but their incomes usually don’t count toward the poverty threshold.

Many disabled individuals can work, but they can only work part-time or they can only work at a low-paying job, like Walmart greeter or school crossing guard. These individuals cannot earn nearly enough to clear the poverty line by themselves.

Subjectively, an SGE job must be mentally or physically productive. Arguably, if a person with a medical degree is disabled and must work as a patient care technician, that job is not SGE employment, regardless of how much it pays.

Due to a Medical Condition

A well-documented medical condition, not a poor work record or anything else, must cause the SGE deficiency. A Tampa Social Security Disability lawyer typically uses three kinds of evidence to establish this medical impairment.

First, the claimant must have a credible diagnosis. Medical conditions in the Social Security Blue Book are presumptively disabling, if the claimant meets other criteria. However, any condition can be disabling. Non-Blue Book claims are simply harder to prove.

Second, the medical condition must impair an everyday work function. The impairment could be physical, such as an inability to sit for long periods of time or lift more than two or three pounds. The impairment could also be mental, such as inability to focus.

Third, the claimant must connect the dots and show how the medical condition impairs work ability. Tampa Social Security Disability lawyers often use witness statements from coworkers to establish this point.


This last section will be rather brief. If the disabling condition isn’t fatal, doctors must expect it to last more than twelve months. Many government programs, such as workers’ compensation, address the needs of individuals with short-term disabilities. SSD isn’t one of them.

Usually, the Social Security Administration requires annual re-evaluation in these cases. If the claimant’s condition is in remission, or the claimant is working in an SGE job, the SSA may cut off benefits.

 Work With a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.



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