Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

What Is a “Closed Period” In a Social Security Disability Case?


Most people who apply for Social Security Disability are alleging that they are disabled and will continue to be unable to work for an indefinite amount of time. However, here in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, it is not uncommon for a Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income case to take up to two years from start to finish. During this wait time, some people recover from their disabling condition and are able to return to work. What happens to his or her case when this happens?

The most basic definition of "disability" under the Social Security Disability Rules and Regulations is a follows:

1. Your condition must last (or be expected to last) at least 12 full months AND

2. It must prevent you from performing any type of work

So, if you have a condition that prevents you from working and you are off work for at least one full year, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits for the period of time you were off work. This is called a "closed period of disability."

In a recent case, I had a client who had a total hip replacement and was unable to return to work due to pain. After a little over a year, he was able to return to a new job. He was concerned about whether or not he should continue his Social Security disability claim. However, because we were able to gather the records showing exactly when he stopped work due to the hip replacement and when he started his new job, we were able to show that his condition kept him out of work for a little over 12 months. Therefore, he was to able to win his case based on the theory that he had a closed period of disability for the time he was off work, and he was able to receive a check for the past due benefits he should have received during this time.

Talking with an experienced attorney can help you determine if you are entitled to any Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income for a period of time you were off work.

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