Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

Can you get Social Security Disability or SSI for a short period of time, i.e. Temporary Disability?

Receiving Disability Benefits for a Past Period, or Closed Period

When a person decides to file for disability with the Social security administration, they may not be aware of it but they are filing for benefits under the assumption that their condition is likely to be permanent, or at the very least longstanding (SSA does conduct periodic reviews of cases every few years to see if a person has experienced medical improvement in their condition, but only a small percentage of individuals will have their benefits ceased). Social Security also assumes that the individual who is filing for disability will be totally disabled.

What does "totally disabled" mean for the social security administration? Simply that the claimant's condition meets the social security definition of disability which states that the individual must have a condition that is severe enough to last at least one full year and impose enough functional limitations that they cannot work and earn a substantial and gainful income during that time.

Given that social security assumes that, for a person to be approved for disability, their condition must fully disable them from the ability to work and must be relatively permanent, it should be easy to see that benefits are not typically awarded for short periods of time. In other words, SSA does not offer temporary disability benefits.

Therefore, if you have a claim for disability benefits at the disability application level or the reconsideration appeal level, then the likely outcome will be that you will be denied for social security disability or denied for SSI if your records do not indicate that you are both currently disabled and likely to stay that way for at least twelve months (twelve months is the duration minimum for qualifying for disability).

Having said that, though, if your case is decided at the second appeal level, which is the level of an administrative law judge disability hearing, then it will be possible to receive disability benefits for a specified period of time which exists in the past, even if your condition has improved and you do not currently satisfy the social security administration definition of disability.

This is known as a "Closed Period" and while a person who is awarded for a closed period will not receive regular monthly benefit checks, they may end up receiving thousands of dollars for a past period of time in which they disabled to the extent that they could not work and earn a substantial and gainful living.

Note: Closed periods are never awarded at the initial claim or reconsideration appeal levels, but only when a case has gone before a disability judge and, usually, only when a disability attorney or non-attorney representative is involved and can argue for the awarding of a closed period. This, of course, points out again why claimants who have been previously denied at the lower levels should not give up on their claims--because even if continuing monthly benefits are not won, thousands of dollars received for a closed period can make a tremendous difference in a claimant's financial position.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • 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

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    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

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    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

    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

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Related pages:

    Social Security Temporary Disability - Can I get temporary benefits?
    Can you get temporary Social Security disability or SSI benefits?
    A question regarding Temporary Social Security Disability Benefits and closed periods
    Is it possible to file for Temporary Disability Income through Social Security?
    Can you get Social Security Disability or SSI for a short period of time, i.e. Temporary Disability?
    Can I get disability if I have seizures?
    Social Security Disability, ongoing education, and going to school?
    Will I qualify for disability Benefits in New Jersey?
    Getting a Disability Lawyer in New Jersey

    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