How Long Do You Have to be Off Work to Apply for Disability Benefits?
Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits can take a long time, so it is important to know when you should apply.
If you feel you are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability, know that you have options. The Social Security Administration provides benefits to those who cannot work due to their disabling conditions.
If you have been contemplating applying for these benefits the time to apply is now.
How Long Do I Need to Be Off Work Before I Apply?
You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you feel you have become disabled and know that you will be unable to work for at least 12 months. This does not mean you have to be out of work for 12 months before you apply. This means you have been diagnosed with a disability that will keep you from working for at least 12 months.
The Social Security Administration defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” This means that you cannot do the work you did before, you cannot adjust to new work and your condition is expected to last one year or to result in death.
How Do I Know If I am Eligible for Disability Benefits?
To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD), you must have a certain amount of work credits. These credits are accrued over the years that you have worked and paid into the Social Security FICA tax. These credits, however, expire. Once you stop working and paying into the Social Security FICA tax, the credits will eventually expire. This is known as your date last insured. This will not happen right away. If you have questions regarding your date last insured, you can contact the Social Security Administration.
You may also be eligible for the disability benefit known as Supplemental Security Income. These disability benefits are based on assets and income instead of work credits. You can call the Social Security Administration or an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to see if you are eligible.
Can I Work While I am Applying for Disability Benefits?
If you plan to work while applying for or receiving these benefits you may come across the word Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). When someone is working, as an employee, Social Security sets limits on how much you can work and how much you can earn.
Individuals attempting to work while receiving or attempting to receive Social Security Disability benefits cannot work full time hours, only part time hours. In addition, an individual cannot earn more than the monthly gross amount set by Social Security each year. The 2022 earning threshold is $1,350.00.
You may have questions about these programs, and you should know that you do not have to apply alone. If you would like to continue the conversation with us, please contact Berger and Green for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability claim.
Getting Help with Your Social Security Disability Benefits
If you are considering applying for either SSD or SSI benefits, or have been denied these benefits and need representation, do not delay. Contact an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney. Contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at Berger and Green for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your claim.