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Disability closed period what is it?

If you have been disabled for more than 12 continuous months but are not able to return to work you may not qualify for ongoing SSDI or SSI benefits, but you may be able to receive benefits for the period of time when you were not able to work, even if it was in the past. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “What is a closed period for SSDI, and do I qualify for benefits for the time period I was not able to work?”


The Social Security Administration defines a closed period as the “time between the onset of a disability and the time when the claimant is able to return to work and perform substantial gainful activity or SGA level work

So what does this mean? It means that if you were disabled for a set period of time (at least 12 continuous months) and you had to stop working but were able to return to work, you may receive benefits for this close period of time even if you are not awarded ongoing benefits by the SSA.

How can I receive my closed period of SSDI benefits?


If you believe you may qualify for closed period benefits you will need to file an SSDI application. The application generally must be filed within 14 months from the date the disability ended, although some exceptions exist if you can prove you had a good reason to miss this application deadline. Talk to the SSA if you have questions.

Other applicants will find that they are awarded closed period benefits because they applied for SSDI benefits and returned to work before the SSA made their decision. Others may be awarded closed period benefits if the judge determined the claimant’s condition has approved enough that they can return to work and are no longer disabled. In both of these cases you may receive closed period benefits even if you may applied for ongoing SSDI benefits.

The good news is in many cases the SSA is more likely to award closed period benefits because they know the costs. It is very expensive for the SSA to award continuing disability benefits, and they may be less likely to do so in certain circumstances.

What do I do if I have questions about my disability closed period benefits?

If you have questions about your disability status you can either contact the SSA or visit their website at or you can contact a disability lawyer.

If you decide to hire a lawyer they are only paid if you win your SSDI benefits. If you win they are paid 25% of your back pay benefits up to a maximum of $6,000. Nearly all claimants have a certain amount of back pay due to the length of time it takes to file a disability claim.

Claimants will not need legal help if they have a condition which is listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments and they can prove their condition is as severe as a listing.

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