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Applying for disability with a cervical spine discectomy and fusion

I have been off work since October 21 2014 for cervical spine discectomy and fusion and I am receiving short term disability from my workplace, but I do not expect to be able to return to work since the surgery did not repair my problem.

Providing I am off the amount of time required by Disibilty Law, If I apply now will I have to terminate my employment before being approved? Thank You.

You can apply for disability at anytime after you stop working, or when your work provides income that is under the SGA limit.

According to the SSA definition of disability, you can work and file for disability, or even work and receive disability as long as their earnings are under the SGA limit. So, you see, it is about whether you are employed or unemployed. It is about whether your condition prevents you from working and earning at least a "substantial and gainful" amount.

Note: people sometimes mistakenly believe that they have to wait until they have been away from a job for one year before applying, but this is not the case. Social Security will evaluate a person's medical evidence to determine, or project, whether a person's condition will meet the duration requirement of one year as specified by the SSA disability definition. By the same token, however, SSA may also look at a claimant's records and determine that the condition will improve to less than disabling in that time and thus issue what is known as a durational denial.

If your impairment is not going to last that long (at least one full year), there would be no sense in filing for disability since there is a five month waiting period for which you are not paid benefits (it begins the month after the month you stopped working unless you stopped on the first of the month). The five month waiting period is similar to an elimination period for a private insurance plan. Essentially, it simply means that your first five months of benefits will be withheld by the Social Security Administration.

As was stated, you do not have to terminate your employment at anytime during the disability process; the rules just requires that you are not working and earning at least the SGA amount that we mentioned and which is linked above.

In most instances, cases are initially denied and because of this the Social Security disability process may last months or even years if you have to use the Social Security disability appeal process.

Additionally, it is not a sure thing that you will be approved even if you go through the entire process to an administrative law judge disability hearing (although the odds do favor claimants who go as far as the hearing level). You could still be denied and have to begin the process again if you are still not working. Also, please keep in mind the fact that Social Security disability requires that you not only be disabled from performing your past work but that your limitations prevent you from doing any other job that you might otherwise be suited for.

I hope this answers your question and that your have the information you need to make your decision. Good luck.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

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  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Related pages:

    How many Social Security disability cases are approved for back pain?
    Social Security Disability and Pain symptoms
    Facts about Lumbar Fusion and Filing for Disability
    What is a Social Security Disability SSI Durational Denial?
    If I Apply For Disability And Go Back To Work, Do I Need To Report This?
    Can You Work While You Appeal Your Social Security Disability Decision?
    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

    Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
    What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
    How do you find out if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or even denied?
    Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
    How much does Social Security Disability or SSI pay?
    How does the Social Security Disability Review work?
    What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
    More differences between Social Security Disability and SSI