Social Security disability durational requirement EXPLAINED

Have you ever seen this in a Social Security denial?

While your condition may prevent you from working at the present, we do not feel that your condition will remain disabling for 12 months.

[Claim denied]

First, Social Security says that you are disabled. Then, they deny the claim. What is going on?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you have to be disabled. However, that is only part of the analysis.  Social Security also requires that your disability be expected to last for at least 12 months.

This is called the durational requirement. If your disability is not expected to last for 12 months, or does not actually last for 12 months (or longer), Social Security will deny the claim.

I see often this in car accident or back injury cases. Social Security agrees that you are disabled right now. However, they deny the case because they do not think you will be disabled for 12 months.

What can I do about it?

As you already know, most Social Security cases takes over a year from beginning to end (with many taking more than two years). So, in many cases the durational requirement is met by the time the case goes to hearing because 12 months have passed since the start of the disability.

At that point, it is no longer a matter of predicting whether you will still be disabled for 12 months, but only question of whether you actually have been disabled for 12 months.

So I HAVE TO wait for 12 months to be found disabled?

Not necessarily. You can be found disabled if your condition is expected to last for 12 months or longer.  If you can get a prognosis, a medical statement, that your condition is disabling and that it is expected to last for at least 12 months, you can be found disabled without waiting out the 12 month durational period.

Also check out how the durational requirement fits in the 5 step process Social Security uses to review cases.