Sleep apnea and temporary SSI disability

Does sleep apnea treatment qualify a person for temporary SSI?


This is a fairly common question (regarding temporary and short-term benefits). However, Social Security Disability--and SSI--is a long term permanent disability program. There is no temporary SSI or SSDI. Social Security examiners and judges award benefits using a five-step sequential evaluation system that requires that an individual's condition of disability (per the SSA definition of disability as described in the regulations) must either have already existed for a minimum length of at least one full year, or be projected, based on the available medical evidence of record, to eventually last one full year. Which means, of course, that you do not need to wait until you have been out of work for a year BEFORE you file for disability benefits.

If you are working full time you would not qualify for disability. If you are planning on going back to work in less than twelve months, you are not considered disabled for Social Security Disability.

While sleep apnea can be a very serious problem, it is unlikely to qualify for disability benefits unless you have other health issues that may or many not be a result of sleep apnea. More importantly, you cannot be working and earning over the monthly substantial gainful activity amount (see the current amount:SGA) no matter how serious your health problems are. Disability requires that an individual be earning less than the SGA monthly limit and have a severe disabling condition.

I hope this information helps you decide what you should do with regard to filing for disability.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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