In relation to taxes, total disability means that someone cannot manage "substantial gainful activity," according to the Internal Revenue Service. Total disability can be caused by either a physical or mental condition. For the IRS, the disabled person must receive that determination formally by a physician. Those who qualify can receive a substantial tax credit on the disability income that they receive during the year.
Substantial Gainful Activity
The IRS defines substantial gainful activity as the kind of work that someone does for a job or would do for a job in a sustained, consistent manner. According to the IRS, those who can handle full-time work for at least the minimum wage demonstrate that they are not totally disabled. If you can handle basic tasks, it does not qualify you for total disability, though an active lifestyle outside of work functions could signal to a physician that you are not totally disabled. Total disability only relates to conditions that last continuously for at least 12 months or that can result in death.