Suppose you suffer a back injury that requires two surgeries and rehabilitation over the time span of a year and a half. After completing the prescribed course of treatment you return to work. You have recovered enough to no longer have a “severe impairment” and, therefore, are no longer disabled according to the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability.”
What about the year and a half that you were unable to work? Can you receive benefits even though your condition has improved and you’ve been able to return to work?
You bet – and it is fairly common to do so.
If an illness or condition has lasted a continuous period of at least 12 months you may be eligible for a “closed period of disability.” In our example, the “closed period” would be the year and a half spent recovering from back surgery and completing rehabilitation.
If you were unable to work for at least a year because of a physical or mental impairment you might be eligible for disability benefits even if you returned to work.
Also, remember that if you are expected to be unable to work for at least a year because of a physical or mental condition you might be eligible for disability benefits.