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When Should I File a Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Charla Tadlock Nov 29, 2016

The Social Security Act defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of a medially determinable physical or mental impairment(s), or combination of impairments, which can be expected to result in death or has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months. Please note that you do not have to be out of work for 12 months before you file a claim for disability benefits.   

You should file a claim for Social Security disability benefits as soon as you have to stop working because of your impairments and it is apparent that your impairments will continue for 12 months. For more information, see the Social Security publication at The Social Security claims process is very lengthy. If you have to pursue your claim through the hearings level, the claims process may take two years or more.Therefore, it is a good idea to file a claim sooner rather than later.  

In any case, you should file a Social Security Disability claim within 17 months of being out of work. This is because disability benefits do not begin on the date that the SSA finds a claimant disabled. There is a 5 full month waiting period before benefits begin. Another rule limits disability benefits to be payable only 12 months prior to the date of the application.   Therefore, if you file a claim for disability benefits within 17 months of stopping work due to your impairments, there will not be a risk of losing benefits off the back end.    

You should also know that the Social Security Administration assigns a protective filing date once you reach a certain point in the application process. Because the date you apply for disability benefits may determine the dates for which benefits are payable, you should not delay.  Start your Social Security disability claim today.   

Murphy Law Firm helps people file their initial disability claims. If you want Murphy Law Firm's assistance getting your claim started,

call us today at (406) 452-2345 or visit us at




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