What is Social Security “Closed Period Disability?”

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Closed Period Social Security Disability

As you may know the Social Security Administration’s regulations and policies can be complex, confusing and intimidating. The number of hoops that you have to jump through and documentation that you are asked to provide will deter some people from even attempting to obtain benefits. One question that we get here at the Law Offices of Jones Brown PLLC is “Can I get partial disability?” A quick answer would be NO, but there are exceptions. There is not any possibility of you ever receiving “partial disability,” as far as the Social Security Administration is concerned, you are either disabled or you are not. But there is a “closed period disability.”

Sorry Were Closed
Sorry Were Closed

Closed Period Disability

A closed period of disability in a Social Security Disability claim case refers to a disability claim that meets durational requirements. For example, some people who apply for Social Security Disability can eventually go back to work. In cases such as these, individuals may qualify for what is called a “closed period of disability” and receive Social Security Disability benefits for that period.

A closed period of disability has a specific begin date and end date. According to Social Security Administration regulations, this period must last at least one year, or 12 months, or be anticipated that it will last at least that long.  Keep in mind that Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries may be required to wait up to five months before disability insurance benefits kick in. Therefore, an individual might only receive seven months’ worth of Social Security Disability payments over a 12-month period, unless there closed period lasted longer than the year.

The process and the terminology may be confusing to some, so let’s break it down. Here is an example: an individual may be eligible for disability benefits, but some individuals (most often due to the long wait in processing) heal and recover, or even return to work before their case has been approved.  In these types of cases, even individuals who have been denied ongoing Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may still receive benefits that were payable during their waiting period, while they were disabled. Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries may be required to wait up to five months before disability insurance benefits kick in. Therefore, an individual might only receive seven months’ worth of Social Security Disability payments over a 12-month period.

Qualifying for Closed Period of Disability

In order for someone to qualify for  a closed period disability benefits, the disability must persist, or must have persisted, or be anticipated to persist for at least twelve months. Also, you must file your application within 14 months after the disability ended. There is an exception, if you missed this deadline but can show that your reason for doing so was due to your impairment, you may be able to file an application between 15 and 36 months after the disability ended.

If you were disabled for at least a year but were able to return to work while you awaited a decision regarding your claim for disability benefits was approved, you may apply for a  closed period of disability benefits. Social Security may decide to award you with only a closed period of benefits even though you apply for ongoing disability benefits. Once again the terminology can be confusing so to put it simply, Social Security decides you are entitled to a period of disability but not any ongoing monthly disability benefit payments in the future.

Here is an example: After reviewing all the medical evidence a claimant has at a disability appeal hearing, the judge may come to the determination that said claimant’s condition has improved greatly since he/she filed their initial disability application. The judge may deny the claimant ongoing benefits, but may decide to award past-due benefits (backpay) for a 18-month closed period. This would happen only if the evidence provided verifies that the claimant met the disability criteria for the 18-month period.

Keep in mind that your medical documentation that should be provided by qualified medical professionals only, is absolutely necessary in applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. Inadequate medical documentation is the very reason that a huge number of claims are denied. For a person applying for closed period of disability, medical evidence should state clearly when the individual was disabled and for how long. Your doctor’s medical records must be accurate and any correspondence between your doctor and any specialists or consultations with other doctors should be sent to the Social Security Administration as well.

Winning a Closed Period Claim

In all honestly, you may find it far easier for a claimant to receive benefits for a closed period of disability benefits it is to receive open period disability benefits. If the Social Security Administration approves normal disability benefits, it will be costly, because it is likely the claimant will continue to receive disability benefits.  For the Social Security Administration, approving a closed period claim carries less of a financial risk. Another benefit of applying for a closed period disability with regards to employees of Social Security Administration, proving the fact that you were unable to work for a period of time but then your condition improved and you were able to return to work, gives strong evidence that you honestly suffered a disability and are deserving of benefits.

Jones Brown Law
Jones Brown Law

Contact Jones Brown

The experienced and professional staff or attorneys at Jones Brown PLLC know that the whole Social Security Disability process can be frustrating and difficult to the point of discouraging some people from even trying. Our attorneys have years of experience handling cases just like yours and receiving positive judgments. Let us take away the confusion and frustration. We can help you to determine if you are eligible and help you in what could be a long and difficult process. Here you will find some valuable resources to help you not only to understand the Social Security process better but also to help you assess your situation.

To better understand the Social Security Disability Process, you can read our Social Security Disability Listings or our frequently asked questions. If you want to find out if you are eligible for Social Security Disability, take our quick evaluation

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