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No. It means that you may qualify for Social Security disability, but your application will not be automatically approved, nor will it receive any special treatment because you are disabled according to the definition of another law.

The Laws Define Disability Differently

While you may consider yourself disabled, you must meet the specific definition of “disabled” according to the law in order to qualify for the benefits of that law. While there are many different disability laws, we will focus on the two that you identify in your question.

You will be considered disabled according to the Americans with Disabilities Act if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, if you have a history of such impairments, or if others perceive you as having such impairments. This law prevents you from being discriminated against for one of these reasons.

Additionally, you may be considered disabled according to Social Security Disability Insurance guidelines if you cannot do your work, you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition, and your condition is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. This law allows you to recover benefits if you are disabled and have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security disability.

You may—or may not—be considered disabled according to both laws.

In order to protect your rights, it is important to thoroughly understand those rights. To learn more about Social Security disability please read our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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