Social Security disability claims: The Duration Requirement

To win a clam for Social Security disability benefits, an impairment must last or be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months, or be expected to result in death. The duration requirement is usually satisfied as long as there are periods when the impairment prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, even if you have short periods of remission or times when your condition improves. However, you cannot string together unrelated severe impairments just to satisfy the duration requirement.

In cases where a denial is based on failure to satisfy the duration requirement, this usually means that your impairment is one that is likely to improve within 12 months. If it is difficult to tell whether your impairment will improve before the duration requirement is met, a state agency decision-maker may delay the case, to wait and see how you’re your impairment lasts. However, because the administrative process is so slow, the 12 months usually have passed by the time you actually attend a hearing, which permits an accurate retrospective evaluation.

If you meet the twelve-month duration requirement, you may ask the Social Security Administration for a finding of a closed period of disability even if your condition has improved enough so that you are able to return to work.

If you have questions about whether your impairment will meet the duration requirement, an experienced Spartanburg disability lawyer will have answers. If you are not presently represented by a Spartanburg disability lawyer, and you would like to speak with me, please use the Free Case Evaluation form on this page to tell me about your situation, or call or email me directly.