There are many acronyms or abbreviations used to describe disability policies, benefits, recipients, and programs. If you're just beginning a disability claim, you may not know exactly what they mean. Consult this list of disability terms to understand what they mean when you see them. The Coye Law Firm's disability center wants to help you get benefits and understand the programs you are dealing with. We want our clients to understand the disability claims process, so we've created this list for you to consult.

Disability Abbreviations

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act. This law protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. It also provides for public accommodations for people with disabilities.

AD/HD: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. A common disorder in children. Common symptoms include inability to focus or concentrate. AD/HD disability benefits are granted in some situations.

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. An auto-immune disease that attacks the immune system and severely limits the body's ability to fight infection. This disease can become disabling in late stages.

ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder. This group of disorders, including Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Atypical Austism, are characterized by limited social functioning and communication.

COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment. Benefit amounts often change to keep up with economic factors and the cost of living. For example, a loaf of bread costs more today than it did 20 years ago. Each year, the SSA adjusts its benefits to keep up with the cost of living.

CP: Cerebral Palsy. A neurological disorder that limits a person's motor development and control.

DIB: Disability Insurance Benefits. This term is interchangeable with Social Security Disability. These are the benefits awarded by the SSA to disabled individuals who have sufficient work history. 

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, which severely limits the body's ability to fight infection.

HMO: Health Maintenance Organization. A group of contracted hospitals, doctors, and other providers that provide health care coverage to people who are members.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A law passed in the United States to provide early intervention, special education, and specialized services to children with disabilities.

MMI: Maximum Medical Improvement. This term is used to describe the point when a person has recovered from their injuries or illnesses as much as possible. It is also used to determine the additional benefits that an injured person may be entitled to over their lifetime.

MS: Multiple Sclerosis. A disease in which the myelin sheaths of brain cells are damaged, leading to slowed nerve cell reactions and communication between the brain and spinal cord.

OT: Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapy helps people recover from a disabling injury or condition by reintroducing them to activities of daily living.

PT: Physical Therapy. Physical therapy helps individuals develop, maintain, or restore their physical functions, such as walking or talking, following an injury or condition.

PTD: Permanent Total Disability. Assessment given by a physician, usually in the course of a workers' compensation case. Usually characterized by amputation of body parts, severe head injuries, and severe communication disturbances.

PTSD: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. An anxiety disorder that results from traumatic or disturbing events. It is often characterized by flashbacks, avoidance, and feelings of terror. Veterans who have experienced war often deal with PTSD.

QOL: Quality of Life. Scale used to assess a person's wellbeing.

SGA: Substantial Gainful Activity. In Social Security disability claims and Supplemental Security Income claims, a person's disability must prevent them from engaging in SGA, or their ability to earn adequate income. SGA is measured in dollars and changes each year to keep up with the cost of living.

SSA: Social Security Administration. This government agency pays benefits for retirees, disabled workers, and family survivors. They oversee Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability benefits.

SSD: Social Security Disability. Social Security Disability benefits pay compensation for disabled people who are unable to work and have enough work history.

SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance. This term is interchangeable with SSD. It is funded by payroll taxes, so applicants must meet a work requirement determined by their age.

SSI: Supplemental Security Income. A benefit program that pays compensation for disabled people unable to work and living on limited income or resources.

TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. A government-sponsored benefits program that helps families or individuals with dependent children find employment. Many people who qualify for SSI also qualify for this program because they live on very little income or resources.

TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury. A major cause of disability, traumatic brain injuries are often caused by accidents, falls, and violent events.

TPD: Temporary Partial Disability. People with a TPD are expected to recover and return to work within a reasonable period of time, but may still get benefits if they qualify.

TTD: Temporary Total Disability. This assessment is given to workers who have severe impairments but may be able to return to another line of work or sedentary employment within 50 miles of their home.

VR: Vocational Rehabilitation. Employees, particularly veterans, who recover from a traumatic injury may need training to return to their former positions or careers. Vocational rehabilitation helps people recovering from disabilities return to gainful employment.

WIC: Women, Infants and Children (Special Supplemental Food Program). This federal nutrition program helps women with children who are living on very low income or resources pay for food.


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The expert disability attorneys at Coye Law Firm are experienced with Florida, New York, Michigan, and District of Columbia law and are here to help the disabled.

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