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How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Do you have to be out of work for a year to get disability?



 
Topic: How long do you have to be out of work to get disability benefits?

Question: "I am contacting you on behalf of a loved one. They have severe MS and should easily qualify for disability benefits. Unfortunately they were told they had to be out of work for a year before they would be considered. This is crazy for if they don't work they will be homeless."

You do not have to be out of work for a year prior to filing for disability. This is a common misunderstanding. The definition of disability states that a person must have a condition that is severe enough to prevent work activity at a substantial and gainful level a.k.a. SGA level, for a period of not less than a year. But, that does not mean that they will actually have to be unemployed for a full year before they can qualify for benefits, or even apply for disability benefits.



It's not uncommon for people to stop work due to their condition, or conditions, and then file for disability the following week, or even the following day. It is also not an uncommon occurrence for people to continue working at a reduced level and file for disability successfully. That's because SSA focuses on work earnings that go above a certain level and which invalidate a claim for disability.

So, to restate, your condition must be severe enough to prevent work activity at the SGA level for one year, but you don't have to actually have been unemployed for a year's time before you file a claim.

You can even be working as long as your earnings are under the limit to be considered disabled.








Essential Questions

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Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state



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Social Security Disability, SSI and more than one medical problem

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What Are The Odds of Winning A Social Security Disability Appeal?

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Attempts by Congress to cut Social Security Disability

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Why does Social Security deny you when you have a lawyer?

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These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?









For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.