Social Security benefits are designed for individuals whose disability will last for 12 months or longer, or is expected to be terminal.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of benefits for individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to people who have a disability and a financial need. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) offers benefits to individuals with disabilities and certain members of their families who have paid into the Social Security system through working and paying taxes.
Both types of benefits are only available to people with disabilities. Under the SSA’s definition of disability, there are three criteria that must be met to be considered disabled:
- You cannot do the work that you did before (known as past relevant work);
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s);
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or to result in death.
Because of these conditions — specifically, the third requirement — you cannot receive temporary Social Security benefits. By definition, you must have a more serious, long-lasting condition in order to qualify for benefits. As a California disability benefits lawyer can explain, even if you cannot work due to your impairment, if your medical or mental health condition will resolve in under 12 months, you are not eligible for Social Security benefits.
However, there may be a way that you can return to work if your condition has improved — which can be like receiving temporary benefits. This can be accomplished through a trial work period. This is a program offered by the SSA, where a recipient of disability benefits can return to work without putting their benefits at risk.
Under SSA rules, you can attempt to work for 9 months in a 60 month period. If you do not feel able to work, you can stop and continue to receive benefits. However, if you earn above the income limit for 10 months ($1,2220 a month), then your benefits could be suspended. That is why it is important to consult with a California disability benefits lawyer if you want to do a trial work period. Understanding the ins and outs of the program is critical to protecting your benefits.
Some people are able to return to work through the trial work period. If you do this, and later decide that you are unable to continue working, you may qualify for expedited reinstatement. This program is available for SSDI and SSI recipients who go off benefits but need to go back on benefits within 5 years. A skilled California disability benefits lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for expedited reinstatement.
While Social Security benefits are not meant to be temporary, there are ways that you can effectively receive temporary benefits if you think that you may be able to return to work after being awarded benefits. However, you will want to be careful about your application, as disclosing your belief that you will be able to work again in the near future could lead to a denial.
If you are considering applying for Social Security benefits, the law firm of PLBSH can help. We have more than 40 years of experience helping individuals apply for benefits. Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.