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What Is Considered A Permanent Disability

Last updated: November 19, 2023

A permanent disability can be an incredibly difficult thing to cope with and can have a significant impact on your life. If you’ve been diagnosed with a disabling condition, it is important to understand what is considered a permanent disability in order to qualify for certain benefits and services

Let’s look at what is considered a permanent disability in this blog. 

Difference Between Permanent Disability And Temporary Disability

When it comes to disability, there is often confusion about what constitutes a permanent disability and a temporary disability. Permanent disability refers to an inability to perform certain activities or jobs due to an injury due to a long-term disability or illness that is not expected to improve. These individuals may qualify for certain disability benefits such as Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, which provide health insurance and financial support. 

Temporary disability, on the other hand, refers to any disability which will last less than six months, though in some cases, it can extend beyond this timeframe. This type of disability typically results from a work-related injury or illness. It may qualify for short-term disability benefits that cover wages for absent employees for the duration of their disability. 

Either way, those with a disability need to assess their situation carefully to make the best decisions regarding their next steps.

Common Injuries Considered Permanent Disability

A permanent disability is a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more major life activities. This includes any condition that has no known cure or will not improve over time. Here are some of the common permanent disability injuries. You can check more at the SSA website

Cardiovascular Or Respiratory Disease

Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are two types of medical conditions that affect the heart and lungs, respectively. Cardiovascular diseases include coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke. Respiratory diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and pneumonia. 

Both cardiovascular and respiratory diseases can have serious and life-threatening consequences and can lead to permanent disabilities.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, combat, sexual or physical assault, or a serious accident. Individuals with PTSD may experience various symptoms, including re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares. They usually avoid people and experience severe guilt, anxiety, or depression.

PTSD can seriously impact a person's daily life and well-being, leading to social isolation, difficulty in relationships, and difficulty performing daily activities. 


Amputation is the surgical removal of a body part, most commonly an arm or a leg. When an amputation occurs, the individual may experience significant physical and emotional challenges due to losing a limb. Amputation can be caused by injury, disease, or congenital conditions and is often necessary to save a person's life. 

However, it significantly affects daily life, including the ability to perform everyday tasks and activities. Individuals who have undergone amputation may experience physical limitations and psychological and emotional effects such as phantom limb pain, depression, and anxiety.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, is when the nerves that transmit signals between the body and the brain become damaged or disrupted. Nerve damage can result in various symptoms, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and loss of sensation.

Hearing Or Vision Loss

People with hearing loss may experience difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments, and require hearing aids or other assistive devices. Individuals with vision loss may experience difficulty seeing objects clearly, reading, and performing daily activities and may require the use of glasses, contact lenses, or other assistive devices.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders affect the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These disorders can result in pain, swelling, a limited range of motion, and difficulty with daily activities.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed at the wrist. This compression can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and wrist.

CTS is often caused by repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as typing or using hand-held tools, and is common among people who perform manual labor or spend a lot of time using their hands.

Knowing what qualifies as a permanent disability can help individuals make informed decisions about applying for benefits and understanding what kind of assistance they may be eligible for. Remember, each situation is unique, so seeking professional advice from your doctor or another healthcare provider can help guide you through this process. 

The injuries described above are just some of what is considered a permanent disability by the SSA. Check out the SSA website or read our blog on when is a person considered disabled by the SSA for more information. 

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Zoey Appleton
Zoey has worked with Cheri for years and has been creating the best articles not only for Disability Help but for our readers. Her job hits close to home for she has a brother with special needs. She hopes to see science and technology pave the way for a better life, with Disability Help to cover it and share it with those that need it.
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