Do I Have to Be Permanently Disabled to Get Disability?

by Feb 22, 2018Disability Benefits

Home » Blog » Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) » Do I Have to Be Permanently Disabled to Get Disability?

In the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must be permanently disabled to get disability. This means you must have a disability that has lasted or will probably last at least 12 months, measured from the date you became disabled until the date you can return to work. This applies to applicants for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You cannot get temporary benefits from either of these programs.

You can, however, receive disability for certain short-term medical conditions, such as recovering from a heart or lung transplant. This applies if your condition is not so short-term that you are likely to recover in under a year. For conditions that keep you out of work but only last a month or two, you do not qualify for SSDI or SSI. Depending on your employer, you might be eligible for private or employer-based short-term disability benefits.

If you are unable to work due to a qualifying medical condition, a disability attorney from the Disability Advantage Group, can help you understand how to apply for SSDI or SSI. We can help you put together a strong, convincing claim. To schedule a free consultation, call 865-566-0800 today.

How Permanent Must My Disability Be to Qualify for Social Security?

Your disability must be severe enough that you cannot work for at least 12 months. However, you do not have to wait until you have been out of work for 12 months to apply for and receive benefits. As long as you can supply evidence that your doctor expects your condition to last for at least 12 months from the date of onset, you can apply as soon as you receive your diagnosis.

In other words, if you have a major surgery in January and your doctor expects it to keep you out of work for at least one year, you can apply for benefits as soon as you have the procedure. Just be sure to include medical evidence from your doctor demonstrating the anticipated length of your recovery with your application.

What If I Was Disabled for a Year but Already Returned to Work?

Through something called a closed period benefit, you can receive disability for a medical condition, even if you have already recovered and returned to work.

For you to qualify, your condition must have kept you from working for at least 12 months in the past, and you must file for benefits within 14 months of the date your disability ended and you returned to work.

If your impairment kept you from filing within 14 months, you may still be able to qualify for benefits. You should see one of our disability attorneys immediately if you feel the time period might be an issue for you.

Can I Receive Benefits If I Am Only Partially Disabled?

If you are still able to work and earn a living, the answer is no, you will not receive approval for disability benefits from the SSA.

In terms of medical requirements, SSDI and SSI are all-or-nothing propositions. You are either disabled—in which case, you will likely qualify—or not disabled—in which case, the SSA will issue a denial

In the eyes of the SSA, the threshold for being disabled is whether you can sustain gainful employment. If you are capable of earning more than the SSA’s income limits, your chances of denial are almost certain. Either you are 100-percent disabled, defined as unable to work, or you do not qualify.

What If My Disability Goes Away and Then Returns?

Imagine you received disability for a year or two, during which you could not work due to a medical condition. Then the condition got better, allowing you to return to work. A few months or a year down the road, however, the condition returns, again rendering you incapable of performing your job.

In this case, you may be able to receive benefits again without having to start the application process from scratch. The SSA allows for an expedited reinstatement of benefits, provided you are a previous SSDI or SSI recipient who has been back at work for less than five years. Once reinstated, you begin receiving benefits again on a provisional basis. These provisional benefits last six months, during which time the SSA reviews your evidence and, ideally, approves you for benefits on a long-term basis.

It is a good idea to consult with one of our attorneys for guidance before you begin this process.

Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Legal Consultation.

The disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, want to help you get the benefits you deserve. Our focus is on Social Security and helping our clients get the help they need. To set up a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call 865-566-0800 today.