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SSDI - Can I get SSDI if my condition is not permanent?

SSDI for a condition that will not last forever


Many disability applicants have a severe health condition and cannot work for at least 12 continuous months but they have the expectation that some time in the future they may recover to the point they could reenter the workforce. A Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicant recently ask us on our disability forum if they might qualify for SSDI benefits if their condition is not expected to be permanent. The answer is yes.


Getting SSDI for a temporary condition which will last at least 12 months but is not permanent


If you have a condition that is not expected to last for 12 continuous months there is no reason to apply for SSDI benefits, you will automatically be denied SSDI benefits. The SSA does not offer any type of short-term or temporary benefits. SSDI is only for what the SSA considers “long-term disabilities.” But this does not mean that you have to have a condition that will last forever.

Consider the SSDI disability applicant who is in a severe car accident. Perhaps they broke their back and the rehabilitation period is expected to be longer than a year. The expectation is that this claimant may at some point in time return to work but for at least a year they will be unable to perform substantial gainful activity. This claimant can apply for SSDI benefits.

How long will it take to get SSDI?


The most common question asked on our disability forum is, “How long will I have to wait for my SSDI benefits?” Unfortunately, there is not a good answer. Many applicants are approved immediately, some are never approved and others fight weeks or months to win SSDI. But what happens if it takes two years to get benefits, you were disabled for those two years, but you returned to work by the time you are awarded SSDI benefits?

This is actually a fairly common occurrence that generally happens if you are denied at the application and reconsideration level (first step in the appeals process) and appeal to have your case reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge.

If you have a condition that lasts at least 12 continuous months, but you are able to return to work prior to your hearing, the Administrative Law Judge may find that you did, in fact, lack the ability to work for the period of time in question. If this occurs they can issue what is called a partially-favorable decision. This mean they will give you back pay as well as payment for the months you were unable to work.

You will not, however, get on-going SSDI benefits if the judge rules that you now have healed to the point that you are able to return to substantial gainful activity or work.

What considerations should you make prior to applying for SSDI?


If you are disabled for at least 12 continuous months, assuming you meet the other nonmedical requirements of SSDI, you can apply for SSDI benefits. Just remember that the battle can be long and there are no guarantees that you will win benefits, especially before you are able to return to work.

SSDI – Can I get SSDI if my condition is not permanent?


Many disability applicants have a severe health condition and cannot work for at least 12 continuous months but they have the expectation that some time in the future they may recover to the point they could reenter the workforce. A Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicant recently ask us on our disability forum if they might qualify for SSDI benefits if their condition is not expected to be permanent. The answer is yes.

Getting SSDI for a temporary condition which will last at least 12 months

If you have a condition that is not expected to last for 12 continuous months there is no reason to apply for SSDI benefits, you will automatically be denied SSDI benefits. The SSA does not offer any type of short-term or temporary benefits. SSDI is only for what the SSA considers “long-term disabilities.” But this does not mean that you have to have a condition that will last forever.

Consider the SSDI disability applicant who is in a severe car accident. Perhaps they broke their back and the rehabilitation period is expected to be longer than a year. The expectation is that this claimant may at some point in time return to work but for at least a year they will be unable to perform substantial gainful activity. This claimant can apply for SSDI benefits.

How long will it take to get SSDI?


The most common question asked on our disability forum is, “How long will I have to wait for my SSDI benefits?” Unfortunately, there is not a good answer. Many applicants are approved immediately, some are never approved and others fight weeks or months to win SSDI. But what happens if it takes two years to get benefits, you were disabled for those two years, but you returned to work by the time you are awarded SSDI benefits?

This is actually a fairly common occurrence that generally happens if you are denied at the application and reconsideration level (first step in the appeals process) and appeal to have your case reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge.

If you have a condition that lasts at least 12 continuous months, but you are able to return to work prior to your hearing, the Administrative Law Judge may find that you did, in fact, lack the ability to work for the period of time in question. If this occurs they can issue what is called a partially-favorable decision. This mean they will give you back pay as well as payment for the months you were unable to work.

You will not, however, get on-going SSDI benefits if the judge rules that you now have healed to the point that you are able to return to substantial gainful activity or work.

What considerations should you make prior to applying for SSDI?


If you are disabled for at least 12 continuous months, assuming you meet the other nonmedical requirements of SSDI, you can apply for SSDI benefits. Just remember that the battle can be long and there are no guarantees that you will win benefits, especially before you are able to return to work.
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