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

When should you apply for Social Security Disability?

This question is routinely addressed by disability attorneys and by columnists. However, the simplest way to answer the question is to state that you should apply for social security disability as soon as your medical condition makes it impossible for you to work, or at least work and earn what is considered to be a substantial and gainful monthly income.

Individuals who are considering whether or not to apply for social security disability will often put off initiating their claim by several months. While this is understandable, it can, given the fact that disability claims filed with the social security administration can take months, even years to result in an award of benefits, be an unwise course of action.

Here is a short of scenarios that may guide when and when not to apply for social security disability.

1. An individual is working full-time: the likelihood is that the gross monthly earned income of an individual who is working full-time will exceed the standard for substantial and gainful income (the actual dollar amount changes each year).

Even if that were not the case, however, the ability to work full time will not serve to substantiate an individual's claim for disability. For these reasons, an individual who is working full time should not choose to apply for social security disability, but, instead, should wait until their physical or mental condition makes continuing working impossible, or make it impossible to work enough (days, hours, weeks, etc) to approach what the social security administration considers a monthly substantial and gainful income.

2. An individual is working part-time and the prospect of working full time does not seem likely due to their mental or physical condition: an individual in this type of scenario should probably make the decision to apply for social security disability. The inability to work at a substantial and gainful income level will substantiate a claim for disability benefits, assuming, of course, that an individual's medical records will corroborate the individual's functional limitations which exist as a result of their medical condition.

What happens if you actually do apply for social security disability while you are working? Then the outcome is one that does not involve a medical evaluation. In other words, social security will deny the claim without reviewing the individual's medical records. In other words, if a person is working and earning a substantial and gainful income, they cannot receive disability benefits no matter how disabling their condition is.

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

Related pages:

Does social security contact your former work employers when you file for disability?
Can You File For Disability While Receiving Unemployment?
When should you File for Disability benefits with the social security administration?
Do You Have To Be Out Of Work For A Long Time Before You Can File For Disability?
Filing for Disability Online or over the phone
Who Do I Contact To File For Disability Benefits from the Social Security Administration?
How long does it take to hear an answer after filing for disability?
You can file for disability for a mental disorder or problem if it interferes with SGA
If You File For Social Security Disability How Far Back Will They Look At Your Medical Records?
What if you Move out of State after you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI?
When should you apply for Social Security Disability?
What Happens When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application?

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