Can You Get Disability Benefits If You’re Not Permanently Disabled?
Do you have to have a permanent disability to get SSDI benefits? Or do short-term medical conditions qualify?
These are very common questions among SSDI applicants, and the answers are important! You don’t want to miss out on benefits because you thought you didn’t qualify. On the other hand, you also don’t want to waste time applying for benefits you’re not eligible for.
Keep reading to find out. Plus, learn other important information you need to know when applying for SSDI benefits.
SSDI for Temporary Disability
Social Security Disability is a type of insurance that covers workers who become disabled and unable to work. SSDI benefits can provide a lifeline for people, helping them to support themselves, pay their bills, and avoid serious financial hardship.
SSDI benefits are available for people who become permanently disabled and unable to ever work again. However, you don’t have to be permanently disabled to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. This is good news if you’re seeking benefits!
That said, there are other medical requirements to qualify for SSDI:
- You have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. This means a doctor can recognize and describe your condition.
- Your disability must last at least 12 months or be terminal. This means that your doctors expect your disability to continue and prevent you from working for 12 months or longer.
- Your impairment must be “total” — meaning it prevents you from doing any “substantial gainful activity.” This means that your disability prevents you from continuing in your previous job and also prevents you from doing any job that pays $1,170 per month.
Unfortunately, if your disabling condition is expected to last less than a year, you won’t qualify for SSDI. You also won’t qualify if your disability is “partial” — where you are able to do a less physically or mentally demanding job that pays at least $1,170 per month. (Unlike workers’ compensation, for example, Social Security Disability doesn’t pay percentages of disability. It’s an all-or-nothing kind of system.)
Short-Term Medical Conditions
As we said above, you can qualify for SSDI as long as you have a total disability that’s expected to last at least a year. Assuming the SSA accepts your claim, you’ll then receive ongoing SSDI benefits until your condition improves.
However, there are a few short-term medical conditions with special rules.
For some conditions, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sets the amount of time you can get benefits. If you receive an organ transplant, for example, the SSA allows you to receive benefits for one year only.
Closed Period Benefits
What if you did have a temporary, total disability that lasted at least a year, but you’ve already improved? (For example, you improved while waiting on your SSDI appeal.) Are you out of luck?
Fortunately, you can still receive benefits!
The SSA allows people to apply for a “closed period” of benefits. The closed period refers to a temporary total disability with a beginning—when the disability began—and an end—when you improved enough to return to work.
As long as you file your SSDI application within the deadline, you can make a claim for closed period benefits. (The deadline is 14 months from the date your disability ended, unless your impairment prevented you from filing on time. In that case, the deadline is between 15 and 36 months from the end date.)
If the SSA approves your application, you’ll receive a lump sum paying you the benefits for the entire closed period.
The Social Security Disability application process can be incredibly complex. It makes sense to have questions or want to know more.
We’ve written a number of blog posts on many SSDI topics. You can find useful information on:
- Medical requirements of SSDI
- SSDI compassionate allowances
- Work requirements of SSDI
- SSDI application process
We wrote these posts to help make the SSDI process easier for you, so we hope you’ll read and learn more!
Call Us Today
The SSDI attorneys at Casper & Casper are here to help. We would be glad to discuss your situation with you—letting you know whether you qualify, what you can expect from the process, and how we can help.
Call us today to schedule your consultation with an experienced, dedicated SSDI attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio.