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Common Terms When Applying for Social Security Disability

When injuries or chronic health conditions prevent you from working, Social Security disability benefits provide a safety net. Determining whether you are eligible and applying for these benefits can be a time consuming and complicated process. In too many cases, applications end up getting denied or delayed. Part of the problem is that the terms Social Security uses can be confusing to people unfamiliar with them. The following highlights some common phrases you are likely to encounter.

What Qualifies as a Disability?

One of the most important aspects in filing a benefit claim is understanding how the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability. Their definition is different than that used by other government agencies and social service programs. For example, while temporary or short term health problems may qualify you for unemployment benefits, these conditions do not make you eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI).

Approved disabilities may include physical, emotional, or intellectual impairments, provided they meet the following guidelines:

  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for more than a year and eventually result in your death.
  • Your disability prevents you from doing work you did before.
  • Your disability prevents you from adjusting to other types of jobs or employment, as determined by the SSA.

To determine whether you might be eligible for disability benefits, review these guidelines and check to see if your condition is listed under the SSA’s official listing of impairments.

Terms Used When Filing a Social Security Disability Claim

You can find SSA approved guides to disability benefits online. While these are designed to guide you through the SSDI application process,  the problem with these publications is that they are likely to use terms you are unfamiliar with. Common phrases you are likely to encounter include:

  • Work credits: You earn work credits by paying taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). You can earn up to four per year, depending on your hours and your income. To qualify for SSDI, you will generally need to have earned 20 credits over a 15 year period. This varies depending on your age.
  • Substantial gainful activity: This is any part time or full time paid work you perform.
  • Date of entitlement: SSDI typically require a waiting period of five months after filing your application before you are entitled to benefits.
  • Compassionate Allowance: If you suffer from certain types of conditions, such as cancer and other recognized diseases, which are recognized by the SSA, it can speed up the application and approval process.
  • Disability Adjudication and Review: This is the process for appealing a decision is your benefit application is denied.

Contact Us Today for Help

These are just a few of the terms you are likely to encounter when applying for disability benefits. At Farrell Disability Law, we can guide you through this process, helping you get the maximum amount you are entitled to. To request a consultation in our Jacksonville or Orlando office, call or contact our Jacksonville Social Security disability attorney online today.




Farrell Disability Law is located in Jacksonville, FL and serves clients throughout Florida, including Jacksonville Beach, Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach, Orange Park, Doctors Inlet, Neptune Beach, Callahan, Bryceville, Middleburg, Fernandina Beach, Clay County, Duval County and Nassau County.


2319 Oak Street
Jacksonville, Florida
Phone: 904-388-8870 Primary: 904-388-8870 Fax: 904-339-9590


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Orlando, Florida 32801
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