The first thing people wonder when they get sick or injured is whether they qualify for disability.
How Long Is Your Sickness or Injury Going to Last?
This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission from any purchases you make through these links without any extra cost to you. This is how I make sure this blog is available to help you in your claim journey
No matter what type of disability you are applying for you have to ask yourself: Is this temporary? If so, for how long? Will it last 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? Or years into the future?
Is the disability the result of an injury? Will it take a while to heal but eventually it will get better? Or is it a medical condition or injury that medical science has not been able to cure yet?
The answer to these questions is a good way to start in deciding when and if you should file for disability.
The time consideration is important because if you are applying for Social Security, the rules require you to demonstrate that the disability will last or is expected to last more than 12 months.
VERY IMPORTANT: The clock starts ticking not from when you first became injured or sick (although it’s important) but when you stopped working. This date is the so-called ONSET DATE, i.e., the date your disability began.
Yes, sometimes those two coincide to have the same date. For example, you had a car accident on January 1st, 2015 and you stopped going to work since that day. A lot of people get injured or sick and they file the very next day thinking that the benefits will start immediately.
This is not the case. EVER!
Even if by some miracle you get approved right away, there is another little rule that you must consider: the “5 MONTH-WAITING-RULE”
The “5 month-waiting” rule means that even if you win your disability right away, you will still have to wait 5 months from the date you were found to be disabled to get paid. Realize also that they will not pay you retroactively for those 5 months you waited.
For example, you filed your disability on January 2, 2015, and you receive your award letter soon after. The benefit payments will only start 5 months AFTER January 2, 2015.
Another example, if you filed on January 2, 2016, and you received your award letter in May 2016 (i.e. a year and four months AFTER your initial onset date of January 2, 2015), In this scenario, Social Security will DEDUCT five (5) months of benefits and your back-pay check for the future months starting from January 2015 will only include 11 Months of benefits instead of 16 months (in other words: January 2015 thru May 2016 = 16 months minus 5 months = 11 months of benefits included in your back-pay).
Is There Such a Thing As a Temporary or “Short Term” Social Security Disability Benefit?
Some claimants think that Social Security has a mechanism similar to short term disability (disability insurance through an insurance company) and that they will pay temporary benefits while you are sick and you expect to go back to work. While under the rules there is such a benefit, in reality, it doesn’t always work that way.
There is a mechanism in the rules providing for something similar to short term disability but you still have to meet the 12-month rule we talked about above. Also, the payment is not as immediate as you think (there is more to that too but we can talk about that in another post).
Because of the application process, the time it takes to get a response, and the deduction of the 5 months, by the time you get awarded anything you are back to work already. So any payments would be retroactive and they would not take care of you during the time you were sick.
Also, in most cases, Social Security takes advantage of the idea that this is temporary and hopes you give up waiting so they don’t have to pay for that period. Further, they can keep denying temporary benefits and the fight to get just a few months of coverage is really not worth the trouble. Social Security is actually counting on that. So most people try but the claim usually doesn’t go that far.
Learn How the Pros Prepare and File Claims and Avoid Mistakes and Misconceptions That May Cost You Years Of Hardship
I always felt that claimants should know what goes on in their case and why. Most attorneys like to keep the procedural work a secret thinking that the claimant may not understand the concepts and get confused.
I think that if everything was explained in plain language, claimants would be less stressed and consequently, the attorney’s work would be so much easier.
The claimant would know exactly what stage he/she is at, why things are going fast or slow, why the file has to look a certain way, why the records should contain certain notes, etc. And the attorney would spend less time explaining things over and over again because the claimant never “got it“.
That’s why I created a FREE Mini-Course on How to Prepare and File a Social Security Disability claim.
While this is a mini-course, it is jam-packed with lots of great information so you can start your claim on the right track. FREE!
This FREE Mini-Course is the “little cousin“ of my “5 Day File Your Disability Claim” Course” (only $19.99 ), where I go even deeper into the process of filing and improving your chances to win your claim. You can start with the FREE Mini-Course (no strings!) and if you love the information you learned, you can always upgrade it to the “5 Day Course”.
To Recap Today’s Post:
Rule Number 1: Ask yourself if your condition has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more before you consider filing for disability;
Rule Number 2: Understand that the clock starts ticking from the time you stopped working;
Rule Number 3: Social Security will not pay for the first 5 months of disability even if you are awarded right away;
Rule Number 4: Short Term Social Security exists but you still need to meet Rule Number 1. Is it worth the trouble?
In the next post, we will talk a little more about how to know if you qualify to file.