According to Georgia Law, a permanently and totally disabled person is a person, “who has a medically demonstrable disability which is permanent and which renders him
incapable of performing any gainful occupation within his competence.” This definition of permanent and total disability contains three essential criteria:
The disability must be medically demonstrable. The term medically demonstrable means
that the person's disability must be verifiable and substantiated by medical findings.
In other words, the Medical Eligibility Section must base its decision on the medical
data which is provided by the client's physician and/or from other medical sources.
A physician's statement that a client is permanently and totally disabled is considered
insufficient evidence unless it is substantiated by medical and clinical data.
The disability must be permanent. The factor of permanency refers to a serious physical
or mental impairment, or disease which is not likely to improve or which will continue
throughout the lifetime of the individual.
Permanent disability is a condition which is not likely to respond to any known therapeutic
procedures, or a condition which is likely to remain static or to become worse unless
certain therapeutic measures are carried out. Permanent disability does not rule out
the possibility of vocational rehabilitation or even possible recovery in light of
future medical advances or changed prognosis. In this sense the term refers to a condition
which continues indefinitely, as distinct from one which is temporary or transient.
The disability must be total to the extent that it prevents performance of gainful
occupations within the disabled person's competence. The factor of totality involves
considerations in addition to those verified through the medical findings. These include,
but are not limited to, such considerations as age, training, skills, work experience
and the extent to which these factors prevent the performance of gainful occupations
within the disabled person's competence.
An individual's total disability would usually be tested in relation to his ability
to engage in remunerative employment. The ability to keep house or to care for others
would be the appropriate test for individuals such as housewives who were engaged
in this occupation prior to the disability and do not have a recent history of gainful
employment well enough and with sufficient regularity to receive regular payments
on a continuing basis, he is not considered to be totally disabled.
All of these factors must be substantiated in order to make a determination of permanent
and total disability, and the absence of any one of these factors would render the