What Does Disability Mean for Social Security?

abstract background with different disabilities such as blindness, mental and hearing

What Does Disability Meanfor Social Security?


Disability means different things in different programs. How a person identifies themselves with a disability can be very different than how Social Security defines “disability”. This definition becomes even more important when someone transitions from childhood benefits to adulthood benefits.

Childhood Disability

Social Security will consider a child to have a disability if they have a physical or mental condition that seriously limits their activities and is expected to last for at least 1 year or end in death.


Adulthood Disability

The transition from child to adult caused this big change in the definition disability. So even though the condition may not change for a person, Social Security might determine that the person no longer has a disability. This can be super tough to understand.

In adulthood, Social Security similarly states that a person must have a physical or mental condition that is expected to last for at least a year or end in death. The difference is that the disability has to be severe enough that it limits the person from working at a specific level. Adult disability is determined based on the level someone can work.





Help with NavigatingChanges Between Childhood and Adulthood


Remember, if you or your child need help with navigating some of the decisions, reviewing information received from Social Security, or understanding how working impacts benefits, contact a benefits specialist to answer your questions.