How long does a disability need to last for SSD?

Dec 10, 2021 | Social Security Disability

One qualifying condition for a disability, under the definition provided by the Social Security Administration, is duration. You could be entirely disabled for a week, and you’re not going to qualify for benefits through the SSA. This is seen as a short-term injury, and not a disability.

So what type of duration are you looking at? How long does your disability have to last for you to qualify, and what problems could this cause?

According to the SSA, a disability has to last for a year

This can be a tripping point for many cases, as the SSA has a very strict definition of disability. The good news is that they’re also forthcoming about what that definition is, so you can usually quickly see if you are going to qualify in this regard. Under their definition, your condition only counts as a disability if it is “expected to result in death” or if it has “lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

For some conditions, this is easily met. For instance, perhaps you are seeking benefits because you are dealing with schizophrenia or another mental condition that qualifies. Once these conditions develop, there is generally no overall cure even if you can be treated for it while you have the disorder. In other words, it is going to last for the rest of your life, and so you definitely meet the duration requirement.

For injuries, though, this can get more complex. Say that you have a back injury that is so bad that you can’t work for the next 10 months. This is still not a long-term disability to the SSA, as you should be able to get back to work within the year. That said, you may be concerned that the issue will last for longer than a year. This is why it’s important to work with medical professionals so that they can give you an accurate diagnosis and tell you what the future may hold, as that will carry more weight to the SSA than your own opinion that you won’t be able to work for so long.

How can you seek benefits?

This whole process can become very complex and tedious, and that’s why it’s important to work with an experienced team. Make sure you know about all of the steps you have to take to seek proper benefits.