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Understanding Social Security Short Term Disability

by Ryan Kinnar5 min read
social security short term disability

If you’ve encountered and survived an accident and is temporarily disabled and unable to perform your work duties, are you qualified for Social Security short term disability?

Whether you should apply for it or not depends on you. Qualifying for it, depends on the definition of disability by the Social Security Administration. Also, how long the disability will affect you and your work functionality is a question you need to prove in your disability benefit claim.


How does it Work?

Disabilities after an accident or injury are usually not permanent. They are mostly temporary, especially if you’re lucky.

However, an adult claiming benefits for Social Security short term disability has to know how the administration defines the term disability.

Basically, they consider an adult disabled when they are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to physical or mental impairmentfor at least one year or twelve months. The last part, you have to prove through medical documentation.

This means that you cannot perform properly in the job you were employed at during the accident and any other work that is suited for your qualifications based on age (less than fifty years old), educational background and work background for a period of 12 months or more.


Employment Status while Applying for Disability Benefits

As per the definition of the SSA, the disability should last for 12 months. But it does not mean permanent disability or being completely off work for 12 months.

If you can return to work in recovery stages as a part-time employee at your primary work, or be underemployed and not earn enough of your SGA amount, you may still be qualified for the Social Security short term disability benefits.

You should also know that SSI and SSD disability benefits can be received for both Social Security short term disability (minimum of 12 months) and permanent disability (lasting for more than a year).

Temporary disability that lasts for less than 12 months on the other hand has benefit programs as well, but they are awarded by the state, not the Federal government.

There are only 5 states in the US that offers temporary disability benefits. The policies are different as well, depending on where the claimant is residing.


It would be tremendously helpful to consult a doctor about whether or not you can return to work. You will have to be detailed in describing your current condition such as:

  • your weight,
  • how long you stand in a day,
  • how much you can walk in a day,
  • how often you lift object,
  • how often you bend your back and injured part of the body,
  • how long in a day you are required to sit at work,
  • describe the cognitive requirements at work,
  • and describe any substantial painyou feel.

These information about your daily activities and work duties enable your doctor to give an informed opinion of whether or not you should return to your primary work or get a part-time job.

If you want to be sure that your condition passes the criteria for Social Security short term disability, you may also consult a Social Security attorney about the probability of disability benefits approval.

As soon as you are informed that your condition meets the requirements for Social Security short term disability, you should consider filing an application as soon as possible.



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