Law Firm Blog

Does SSD Have Short-Term or Partial Disability?

Special disability rules apply if the applicant’s disability lasts only about a year.

The answer to this question depends on your definition of “short-term disability.” By law, SSD benefits are only available if a disability is expected to last at least a year or cause the applicant’s death. Many injury-related claims, which account for about half of SSD matters, are basically short-term disabilities. A combination of the injury and injury recovery effectively prevents substantial, gainful employment for at least a year. More on that is below.

State Disability Determination Services denial rates have increased significantly in recent years. DDS officers almost always use the shortest potential disability period to determine if the claimant is eligible for benefits. A Tampa Social Security lawyer advocates for applicants in these situations. A combination of medical records and an independent doctor’s prognosis gives DDS officers a more accurate picture of the potential disability period. This advocacy is even more critical at Administrative Law Judge appeal hearings. An ALJ hearing is, in effect, the last chance saloon regarding claim approval.

Disability Claim Basics

Many Tampa Social Security lawyers try to prove that the applicant’s medical condition prevents SGE (substantial, gainful employment). A better approach is to argue that the applicant cannot work because of a medical condition. That is a subtle yet important difference.

We mentioned the one-year requirement above. This time period not only includes the time the applicant is “laid up” with a disabling injury or medical condition. It also includes extensive physical therapy time. Most employers will not hire most people who can only work three or four days a week because of physical therapy commitments.

Incidentally, it is illegal to refuse to hire disabled employees because they are disabled. Discrimination victims are entitled to substantial compensation. However, these claims are quite difficult to prove.

Along with the time period, the other aspects of an SSD claim include sufficient work credits and a qualifying disability.

As of December 2022, applicants need forty work credits, twenty of which must have been earned in the last 10 years, to qualify for benefits. Different rules apply to younger workers in some situations. Workers earn four credits a year for every $1,510 earned, up to four credits a year.

A qualifying disability is a severe disability that significantly limits walking, sitting, standing, remembering, or other work-related activities for at least twelve months. A qualifying disability must also be a listed condition or substantially similar to a listed condition.

Furthermore, the applicant must be unemployable. The applicant must not be currently capable of earning more than $1,350 per month (as of December 2022). Furthermore, the applicant’s medical condition, age, experience, education, and other factors must make future substantial, gainful activity impossible. Basically, SGA is finding and retaining a job that pays enough to lift the applicant, and any dependents, above the poverty line.

Types of STD

Fall and car crash injuries, which are usually listed in the Blue Book as musculoskeletal disorders, are the most common kinds of year-long disabilities.

These incidents usually cause serious broken bones, which severely limit mobility. Furthermore, these incidents usually cause head injuries, which severely limit memory, recall, and other job-related tasks. These injuries often cause other limiting physical symptoms as well, such as severe headaches and personality changes.

Generally, the best case scenario in these situations is ongoing benefits with annual medical checkups. Disability is all or nothing as far as the Social Security Administration is concerned. At some point, a condition is limiting as opposed to disabling.

Reach Out to a Thorough Hillsborough County Lawyer

Some SSD applicants are entitled to short-term disability benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security lawyer in Tampa, contact the Rooth Law Firm. We have several office locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.