You Must be Disabled for a Year for Social Security Disability or SSI
The definition of disability used by the social security administration states that your condition must be severe enough that:
A) It disables you for at least a year (if you haven't been disabled for at least a year when you apply for disability, the disability examiner or the disability judge can review the medical evidence that's been gathered and make a judgement as to whether or not your state of disability will eventually last a year or longer),
B) May possibly result in death.
Why does social security use one year as the benchmark for determining whether or not a person (whose illness is not terminal) will qualify for disability benefits? The one-year mark is somewhat arbitrary. SSA (social security administration) could easily have used 9 months or 18 months as the standard. However, the 12 month standard was chosen. And, as such, SSA holds the view that a state of disability lasting at least one year is more likely to be permanently disabling versus a condition that simply resolves to a non-disabling state (meaning it could be severe, but not prevent the individual from working) in less than 12 months time.
As I've said a number of times on this blog, social security does not award continuing disability benefits for temporary disability (for example, not being being able to work at all for seven months, but being able to go back to work in the eighth month) or for partial disability (for example, losing the use of one hand, or one leg, or suffering severe loss of function in one ear or one eye).
Now, I've mentioned the phrase "state of disability". What do I mean by that, or, more to the point, what does social security mean by the concept? State of disability does not simply mean that you have an illness or disabling. It does not even mean that you have a severe condition. It means, instead, that you have a condition (which could be the result of one impairment or several) that is so severe that it prevents you being able to work and earn a substantial gainful income (for more information on this: substantial gainful activity) at either a job you've done in the past (past work) or at some form of other work
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
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Qualify for Social Security Disability