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The Disability Durational Requirement for SSDI and SSI

by Joe Whitcomb / June 12, 2017

One of the most common reasons individuals are turned down for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security (SSI) is that the Social Security Administration determines that an individual does not meet the Durational Requirement. Individuals who are denied benefits for this reason often find it essential to retain the assistance of skilled legal counsel.

Additional Factors that Can Influence Durational Requirements


There are some additional factors that can determine if the Social Security Administration will grant individual disability benefits including the following:

  • Back to Back Conditions. In situations where an individual experiences two back to back impairments and neither lasts for 12 months, a person cannot add these periods together to meet the 12-month requirement.

  • Recovery. If a person recovers long enough to go back if their disability still lasted for 12 months, the person might still be eligible for disability benefits for a temporary duration.

  • Waxing and Waning Conditions. This category includes conditions that get better and sometimes worse. Some examples include fibromyalgia and severe migraines. An individual’s condition need not remain at the same severity for the entire 12 months. In these cases, an individual must show that the periods when the illness is at its worst prevent the individual from maintaining a full-time job.

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The Definition of SSA's Durational Requirement

The Social Security Administration requires individuals to have an impairment that lasts at least twelve months. In making this assessment, the Social Security Administration will rely on the medical records that the department has available which sometimes means that incomplete records are used. The impairment must also prevent individuals from performing Substantial Gainful Activity (which is sometimes referred to as SGA) for at least 12 months in a row. A person cannot receive disability benefits when their wages are over those established for SGA. Frequently, the SSA denies these claims because impairment has not lasted for a period of 12 months or a person’s conditions are expected to improve within 12 months. In some cases, if a person’s conditions do not improve before 12 months have passed, a case might be delayed to see if an individual’s impairment continues.

SSDI & SSI Appeals

Individuals are able to appeal a denial of benefits by the Social Security Administration. This process requires filing a Request for Reconsideration or in some cases a Request for Hearing. It is important to note that a person has approximately 60 days in which to file these appeals.

Contact an Experienced Disability Benefit Attorney

It is very important for individuals to appeal unfavorable decisions made by the Social Security Administration. It is frequently very difficult for people to understand the various rules and regulations that come into play regarding these decisions. Fortunately, the legal counsel at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or its disability arm, Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group today. Our law firm can help with your disability case so do not hesitate to contact us at (303) 534-1958 or by filling out our quick and convenient online form.

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Joe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb is the founder and president of Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC (WSM). In addition, he manages the firm and heads up the Government Procurement and International Business Transactions Law sections. As a result of his military service as a U.S. Army Ranger and as a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force, he learned mission accomplishment. While serving in the Air Force, he earned his Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and a Master’s in International Relations. His Master’s emphasis was on National Security and International Political Economics. After his military career, Joe attended law school at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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