Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

What Is A Social Security Durational Denial?

A disability for social security purposes is any physical or mental condition that prevents an individual from performing work at a substantial gainful level for twelve months, or which can be expected to prevent an individual from working for twelve months. When a condition is disabling, even according to social security guidelines, but does not last for 12 months, or improves before a twelve month period elapses, the claim may be denied for duration.

Durational denials have been somewhat controversial for Social Security because they are based upon a forecast of recovery. Disability examiners evaluate a disability applicant’s medical information and determine if they feel the applicant will be unable to perform work at a substantial gainful activity level for at least twelve months.

If the disability examiner determines that a disability applicant’s medical condition is likely to improve within twelve months, they may deny the disability claim. This is a durational denial for disability benefits.

As stated, the problem with durational denials is that forecasts tend to be very subjective. Often, disability examiners give durational denials for disability cases that involve traumatic injuries, injuries sustained in an accident, surgical interventions, or other impairments that have some chance of improving to a “finding of not disabled” prior to the end of the twelve month durational period.

However, there have been times when disability examiners routinely denied disability claims on the basis of duration that involved severe mental impairments and other conditions that have very little chance of medical improvement.

Disability examiners with no formal medical training make Social Security disability determinations with input of their managers, case consultants and unit medical professionals. Each individual involved in deciding the disability claim is subject to their own biases with regard to an individual’s chance of medically improving. This is why durational denials tend to be some of the most subjective in nature.

If an individual receives a durational denial, they should appeal that decision all the way to an administrative law judge disability hearing if necessary, even beyond that to an Appeals Council review. The chances are they will win their disability case at an ALJ hearing; if they do not win, they have a choice to file another disability claim or appeal the ALJ decision to the Appeals Council.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to Appeal a disability claim denial from Social Security
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
What is a Social Security Disability Denial based on?
Are there ways to avoid being denied for SSI or social security disability?
What does a Disability Denial Letter from Social Security say?
Reconsideration of a Social Security Disability denial- what does it involve?
What to do if you receive notification of a Social Security Disability or SSI claim denial
If you receive a Social Security Disability Denial quickly does that mean the case is weak?
What happens if my SSI or Social Security Disability Application is denied?
Social Security Disability Denied — The Reasons Why (medical denials)
For your Social Security Disability claim, submit whatever medical evidence you have

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria