SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home602. Impairment Lasting or Expected to Last at Least 12 Months

602.1 When does your impairment meet the 12-month duration requirement?

To meet the duration requirement, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months in a row. The duration requirement may be met even though recovery is expected to occur after the 12-month period (see §507.1). This is provided your impairment keeps you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (see §603.1) for at least 12 months in a row.

(See §509, which describes the application requirements for entitlement to a period of disability.)

(Also see §§520-522 and §506.1, which describe the trial work period and extended period of eligibility (EPE), once you have been found to be “disabled” under the Social Security Act.)

602.2 Does the 12-month duration requirement apply to SSI payments?

Yes. The 12-month duration-of-disability requirement also applies in establishing disability for SSI applicants. A medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments must keep an adult from engaging in substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months in a row. A child who applies for SSI must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination or impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

NOTE: There is no duration requirement for SSI payments based upon statutory blindness.

Last Revised: Nov. 16, 2010