Can I Receive SSD for a Short-Term Disability?

Understandably, disabilities vary in severity and duration. Though an injury or illness may be debilitating and severe, it can be a temporary condition or it can be long-term or permanent. For example, a workplace injury can prevent someone from working, but it may last less than a year. Someone can get into a car accident; the injuries from the crash can prevent the accident victim from working at their job, but it’s not serious enough that it stops the person from performing “modified work” or something easier and less physically demanding. Suppose you are injured in a car accident or in a workplace accident. Or, perhaps your injury occurs elsewhere; for example, you fell off your roof while putting up Christmas lights or you fell off a cliff while taking a hike in Arizona. Now you can’t work until your injuries heal. Can you collect short-term disability benefits?

Social Security is Not for Short-Term Disabilities

As a general rule, Social Security Disability (SSD) is NOT for short-term disabilities. So, if you had knee surgery that’s supposed to keep you from working for six months, or if you broke both of your legs after falling off your roof, or if you were in a car accident and are expected to recover in four months – all of these medical conditions would likely be considered “short-term” by the Social Security Administration. Meaning, they would probably not meet the SSA’s definition of a disability. In order to qualify for disability benefits, your condition must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability:“Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability,” according to the SSA. You may have been injured in a car accident, a workplace accident, or another type of accident and it may prevent you from working for the time being. However, if the condition is not expected to last at least one year or result in death, it would not meet the SSA’s definition of a disability.

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