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Time Limits for Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted Scott B. Cooper on Jul 20, 2013 in Social Security Disability

Few people realize it, but Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has a handful of vitally important time limits. If those time limits pass, you may find yourself ineligible to receive any more benefits. In fact, there are five different time limits concealed deep inside the program rules. Most SSDI recipients aren’t aware of those time limits until they receive a notice in the mail that their case is being reviewed for a potential violation.

If you receive SSDI benefits, take note of these five key time limits

  • Five months. There is a mandatory five-month delay in payments for SSDI claims. This time limit measures from the date of your disability or your application for benefits, whichever is later. For example, if you apply for disability benefits in January, the earliest you can receive benefits is in June, five months afterward. As a general rule, it will probably take more than five months for the Social Security Administration to process your application. If you are approved to join the SSDI system, then early on you will get a check to cover any benefits you should have received while your claim was being processed. You will not get paid for the five-month waiting period.
  • One year. To qualify for SSDI, you must be affected by a disabling condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in your death before a year is up. This is the most challenging part of many claims. The Social Security Administration provides a list of medical conditions that are automatically assumed to be sufficiently serious and disabling. However, the majority of claims do not involve these conditions. You will have to provide medical evidence from acceptable authorities to document your condition and its expected duration.
  • Three to seven years. Every SSDI recipient is subject to a periodic review of his or her case, called a continuing disability review (CDR). Most recipients have a CDR at three-year intervals. If your condition is expected to improve over time, you may be scheduled for CDRs more often. If your medical condition is expected to worsen, rather than improve, over time, your CDR schedule may be every seven years. During a continuing disability review, you will have to demonstrate that your medical condition still prevents you from gainful employment.
  • From now until age 18. A juvenile dependent of someone receiving disability benefits may also be entitled to SSDI benefits. At age 18, the Social Security Administration will review the case. If the young adult is himself disabled, he may be entitled to receive SSDI as an adult in his own name, even without completing the usual work record. If the young person is able to work, then his SSDI dependent’s benefits will end.
  • From now until age 66. People are eligible to receive SSDI benefits through age 65. After that point they are switched over to the standard Social Security retirement program.

Don’t be taken by surprise by an action to terminate your benefits

While these five time limits provide important checkpoints for your continuing SSDI benefits, they are not the only barriers to collecting disability payments—or remaining on the SSDI program after you have signed up. The fact is that nearly 70 percent of applicants are rejected the first time they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance.

A Harrisburg Social Security lawyer can be a vital part of your strategy to secure the disability benefits you need. At Schmidt Kramer, our disability attorneys have helped clients secure their futures by assisting in preparing initial SSDI applications, appealing unfavorable decisions, and taking legal action to prevent termination of benefits. If you need a trustworthy ally ready to stand with you, call us at 888-476-0807 to schedule a free, confidential case review.