I’ve already been out of work for over a year, and the doctor predicts that my medical condition will keep me out of work for about six more months. Am I eligible for Social Security disability?

You are probably not eligible for Social Security disability based on the facts you provide in your question. Social Security disability is only intended for permanent disabilities, and if you can return to work in about six months then your condition will not be considered to be permanent.

Typically, in order to qualify Social Security disability you must either be:

  • Expected to be out of work for one year or more from the date on which you apply for Social Security disability benefits; or
  • Diagnosed with a terminal condition.

The time that you already missed from work is not relevant to this part of your application and the disability examiner should not consider that time when determining your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

That Doesn’t Mean It’s Time to Give Up

It does, however, mean it is time to think carefully about your doctor’s prognosis and to consider getting a second opinion. If you agree with your doctor and feel that you will be able to return to work within the year then Social Security disability is probably not for you. However, your doctor’s prognosis is really just an educated guess. If you believe that your condition will prevent you from working for more than a year beginning on the date on which you file for Social Security disability, or if you believe that the condition which is preventing you from working is terminal, then you should get a second opinion and consider a Social Security disability application.

For more information about Social Security disability eligibility, please read our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law