Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is offered to claimants who have a condition which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months and is so severe they are unable to work. But what if you have a short-term disability? Does it make sense to apply for SSDI benefit if you plan to return to work after a year or two?
Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I have suffered a stroke and cannot currently work, but my long-term prognosis is good. My doctor said I have a short-term disability which will last more than 12 months. Should I apply for SSDI benefits?”
SSDI and a short-term disability
Although most claimants think of SSDI as a long-term disability program which you only apply for if you have a permanent disability, SSDI is offered to many applicants for a shorter period of time. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages workers to return to work as soon as they are able and offers specific programs which make it easier for claimants to test their ability to work while receiving SSDI benefits.
SSDI and the Closed Period for a short-term disability
If you have a condition which lasts for 12 months or longer, but which is not permanent, you may be able to apply for a closed period of benefits. A closed period of benefits has a defined start and end date. It will be the period of time between the onset date of your disability and the date you are able to return to work and engage in substantial gainful activity.
Closed period benefits are only offered to claimants who apply for disability within 14 months from the date their disability ended, although in some cases this deadline may be extended 15 to 36 months if they can prove they did not file within the statute of limitations due to their health condition.
Closed period benefits may be offered to claimants who apply for on-going benefits, to claimants who apply for benefits but return to work while they are waiting for approval, or for those who know they do not have a permanent disability but do have a condition which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months.
Filed for ongoing benefits why was I offered closed benefits?
Many claimants file for on-going, permanent disability benefits but are awarded closed benefits. This commonly occurs when a claimant presents their evidence at a disability hearing and the administrative law judge agrees that the claimant was disabled for a time, but now, due to their medical improvement, they are able to return to work. The good news is the SSA is more likely to award a closed period benefit. Benefits awarded indefinitely can be very costly for the SSA.
Is it worth it to file for closed benefits for a short-term disability?
It can be very difficult to win disability benefits. Whether or not to file for SSDI if you do not have a permanent disability is something each claimant must decide for themselves. If you have questions about your eligibility or whether or not you qualify for closed period benefits you can discuss your case with a disability lawyer.
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