How Long Do You Have To Be Out Of Work To Apply For Disability (And Why)?

How Long Do You Have To Be Out Of Work To Apply For Disability (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12 Months Or Longer

Disability means the inability of a person to perform day-to-day activities in a normal and effective manner. It is can be a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movement, senses, or activities. A disabled person can also be referred to as a handicapped person.

Disability makes it difficult for such persons to interact with the external world in a normal fashion. Disability can be of various types. It may be related to cognitive, intellectual, mental, or physical factors of a person. A disability may be present from birth or may have occurred, acquired, or developed during one’s course of life.

People with disability are provided with disability funds to assist them financially. Disability benefits are nothing but funds from some public or private sources provided to a person who is ill or handicapped. These benefits can be given to an employee in any organization who is disabled.

How Long Do You Have To Be Out Of Work To Apply For Disability

How Long Do You Have To Be Out Of Work To Apply For Disability?

When a person has suffered a major accident or is seriously ill, his efficiency to work reduces to a great extent. Such employees may not be able to work and thus, organizations and workplaces provide disability benefits to such employees.

These benefits given can be defined as an employee benefits scheme where an income replacement, job protection, or both is provided to those employees who are unable to work due to illness or have suffered a major accident. The impairments provided in these circumstances may either be temporary or permanent.

One need not be disabled for any length of time to apply for disability benefits. However, one needs to a customary employee of the organization who is has lost wages due to their disability. Thus one has to have worked in that concerned organization or workplace for at least 12 months to apply for disability benefits.

One can apply for disability benefits as soon as one is not being able to work efficiently. Thus, whenever one is unable to cover a substantial amount of work that one employee in an organization has to do due to their disability, such an employee can put an application for disability benefits.

Duration to be out of work to apply for disability12 months or more
Duration for reviewing one’s disability benefits application3 – 4 months

Why Do You Have To Be Out Of Work For This Long To Apply For Disability?

There is in reality no specific duration of time specified to be out of work before one applies for disability. The main requirement to be eligible to apply for such disability is that one’s disability condition should be severe enough to prevent the employee from performing a substantial amount of work for about a year or more.

It is essential to remember that disability should be severe as only then one can be qualified to apply for disability benefits. It must be remembered these benefits are not given for minor accidents that have less or no impact on employees’ working efficiency.

To determine a person is eligible to apply for disability, one needs to check whether one would be able to work and earn a specific gross amount. This amount is calculated before taxes and is called a substantial gainful activity amount or SGA amount.

Also, the disability for which one is willing to avail of disability should compulsorily prevent from working and earning for a minimum of 12 months. Thus, it can be concluded that to apply for disability benefit, one should be prevented to work for at least one full year because of the disability due to some illness or accident as the case may be.


Disability refers to a medical condition that may have been caused due to an unforeseen accident or some illness that makes a person unable to work at one’s normal efficiency. A disability prevents employees from performing substantial gainful work in their organization.

Thus, to mitigate the hardships of employees suffering from a disability, there is a disability benefits scheme that can be availed by those employees who are severely disabled and their disability is stopping them from working and earning for about 12 months or longer.

Hence, the disability of a person should cause one to be out of work approximately a year or more to apply for disability in one’s workplace or organization.



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