The Social Security Administration imposes strict requirements for claimants attempting to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. For instance, the claimant must not be capable of performing their past relevant work. That is, the claimant must not be able to retain the functional ability to perform the type of jobs they performed during their last 15 years.
Another requirement is that the claimant must not be presently working and earning substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity means the ability to earn approximately $1,200 per month. Earnings over the substantial gainful activity threshold will prevent the claimant from being approved for disability.
Another requirement is that the claimant must suffer from at least one severe impairment that lasts, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.
What is the 12 Month Durational Requirement?
The 12 month durational requirement just means that there is no such thing as partial disability. If a claimant is only unable to work for 9 or 10 months, the Social Security disability program does provide them any benefits. Claimants must be impaired for 12 complete months if they hope to be awarded disability benefits.
A frequent question that many claimants ask is whether a brief remission disqualifies them from benefits. Similarly, they ask whether having several “good weeks” during the 12 month period precludes an award for benefits. The good news is that the Social Security Administration will generally look at wages earned or, in the alternative, look at the medical documentation to determine whether the 12 month duration requirement is met. Brief instances of improvement does not mean the impairment has disappeared or that it is no longer disabling.
Can you still apply for Social Security disability benefits even if it has not been 12 months yet?
The 12 month durational requirement does not prevent an individual applying before 12 months have passed since they earned the substantial gainful activity amount. The Social Security Administration can find that someone is disabled if they have been out of work for 12 months ore if they are expected to be out of work for 12 months.
The best thing to do if you are applying for disability benefits before 12 months have passed is to have the treating physician document.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the Social Security Administration to hesitate approving a claimant for disability benefits until it is certain that they have missed 12 consecutive months of work due to a severe impairment. For this reason, it is important to find a Social Security disability attorney with experience in helping claimants apply for disability benefits as soon as they leave work due to a severe impairments. Most people simply cannot wait a year before applying and then waiting another couple of years for the claim to be fully adjudicated.
If you have questions about your Social Security disability claim, call Cardinal Law Partners. They have likely handled a disability claim similar to yours before. We work hard to get our clients approved as quickly as possible. Call us at 833-444-4257.