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What is a closed disability period?

The federal government maintains two basic programs to help those with disabilities that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity. These programs can pay out benefits to applicants so that they can sustain at least a minimal level of economic and personal freedom. There are, however, fairly strict requirements that applicants need to show to receive these benefits.

These two programs, as many New Jersey residents may be aware, are Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. SSDI is meant for workers who have previously been employed and paid into the social security system through wage withholding. Alternatively, SSI benefits are for those who are blind, disabled, or aged and have very little in the way of income and assets.

Those are only the basic differences between the systems, and there are more concrete, practical variations as well. One of these is the ability of applicants to qualify for a 'closed disability period.' This phrase refers to a specific period of time in which the applicant was disabled but after which the disability ended prior to the adjudication of the application for benefits. Considering the length of time it takes many applications to navigate the Social Security Administration's system, this event is not out of the question in many cases.

When filing for SSDI benefits, the SSA can award those benefits to an applicant retroactively. However, the same is not true for an SSI application. This means that while an SSDI applicant can receive benefits for a closed period of disability as long as the application was filed within 14 months of the end of the disability, SSI benefits cannot be paid out if a disability ended prior to the filing of the application. However, a closed period of disability can apply in SSI cases if the disability continued after the date of application but ceased prior to adjudication. The disability period must have lasted at least 12 months (or the applicant must have been blind for any length of time). New Jersey residents with questions about closed periods of disability may wish to consider seeking counsel from an experienced disability lawyer.

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