How the SSA’s definition of disability can complicate your claim

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | Social Security Disability |

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a rather strict definition of what it means to be “disabled” in a way that qualifies you to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

You need to understand how the “12-month rule” could affect your claim if you intend to file a claim.

What’s the 12-month rule?

Among other criteria, the SSA says that you can only qualify for SSDI benefits if you have a mental or physical impairment that is either expected to be fatal or:

  • Has lasted for a continuous period of 12 months or longer
  • Can be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or longer

For many disability applicants, this isn’t that difficult. They may have suffered from their condition for years before they finally deteriorated to the point where they could no longer continue working. 

However, for those who have a condition with a more recent onset, the path forward can be a lot more arduous, depending on their particular condition. In essence, the SSA may deny or delay your claim while you seek to prove that your disability isn’t something that will “go away” or become manageable with treatment.

How difficult is it to assert certain claims before the 12-month mark?

People commonly run headlong into this restriction when they’re newly diagnosed with something like a back condition.

For example, if you have suffered a severe injury to your spinal column that has left you even partially paralyzed, there’s little doubt that your condition is long-lasting. However, if you have another injury — like a broken back or a slipped disc — you may have to work hard to convince SSA that your condition isn’t treatable through medication, surgery or physical therapy.

If your condition is disabling but fairly recent, then it may take more effort than normal to get your Social Security disability claim approved. Understanding how to construct your application for the best possible results is key.