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Closed Period of Disability - Winning Your SSDI Claim

Author: Jonathan Ginsberg

Published: 2010-05-24 : (Rev. 2013-06-08)

Synopsis and Key Points:

How to Win Your SSDI Claim by Arguing for a Closed Period of Disability.

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Winning Your SSDI Claim by Arguing for a Closed Period of Disability

What is a closed period of disability

According to the SSA's definition of "disability", there is typically a required period of duration for the specific disability. Where SSDI benefits are concerned, it must be proven that the medical condition you are suffering from has prevented you from working a long-term position of employment. In other words, you can only qualify for SSDI benefits if you are unable to work due to a medically or mentally based health problem.

The following elements must be present where your condition is concerned:

you must have been unable to work for 12 months consecutively

your condition will most likely last for 12 months

your condition will most likely result in your death

If your condition is deemed as being short-term, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits. Another scenario involves the closed period for disability. This involves medical conditions which come to an end after lasting a year or longer and then the claimant returns to their place of employment to start working again. If these circumstances are what you have experienced, you may be able to win your disability case if you pursue a claim from the standpoint of being a closed period of disability.

Closed period disability cases are a favorite of some judges

Because of the fact that the SSA incurs less financial risk when a closed period disability claim is approved, these cases can oftentimes be easier to win. As an example, a person who is filing an 18-month closed period disability claim is a far smaller financial concern than a person who is applying for ongoing disability as they could be receiving payments the rest of their lives. It would appear that many Social Security judges are aware of this potential financial liability.

Keep in mind that your attitude and your credibility serve as important factors with the judge who is hearing your case and then making their decision. We always caution our clients to avoid having an attitude of entitlement. Additionally, should you return to your job, this tells the judge that you are fighting those medical problems and mental health conditions that kept you from working in the first place. You are much more likely going to receive the closed period disability benefits you've applied for if you have returned to work.

Jonathan Ginsberg has been practicing Social Security Disability law in the Atlanta, Georgia area for over 20 years. His website can be found at

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