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

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.

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

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?

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