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When may you establish a period of disability?

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

509. When may you establish a period of disability?

For title II, you may establish a period of disability if you meet the conditions below:

  1. You file an application either while you are disabled or no later than 12 months after the month in which your period of disability ends; (See §511.)

    Note: A valid application on behalf of a deceased worker may be filed within three months following the month of the worker's death. It is filed by a person who would be qualified for unpaid monthly benefits (see §1902).

  2. You have disability insured status (see §207);

  3. You were disabled before a final decision was made on your application; and

  4. You were disabled for a period of at least five months in a row before you reached full retirement age (or you are exempt from serving a waiting period (see §502)).

Last Revised: Mar. 1, 2004

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There are 6 Comments

Does Social Security Income benefits coverage for someone who is getting ready to go under treatment for Hepititis C. It will take approximately one year of treatment. Please advise.

Thank you,

M. S

I have not worked since my total right hip replacement in 2006, although I have been actively looking and going on interviews. Then in February of 2013 I fell and broke my hand in two placed and badly injured my leg. This severely activated my auto-immune disorder of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia to the point that my doctor prescribed steroids to bring down the extreme swelling in my joints. Then less than a month after getting my cast off my hand, I broke my toe. Can I be eligible for SS disability?

We are not medical doctors and can not render an opinion in this case. However, here are a couple comments.

First, no benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. It sounds like you have recovered somewhat from the broken hand, and the broken toe likely will heal. For these recoverable issues, you will not qualify for disability.

The hip replacement, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia may be more permanent and debilitating.

Rheumatoid arthritis is referred to in the so-called "Blue Book" of disability evaluation :

The following provides information on how the SSA evaluates fibromyalgia in disability cases :

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Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration