602.Impairment Lasting or Expected to Last at Least 12 Months

602.1When 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. Although your condition may not have lasted for 12 months at the time we decide you are disabled, the duration requirement may be met because we expect medical recovery 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.)

602.2Can you combine impairments to meet the 12-month duration requirement?

No. We cannot combine two or more unrelated severe impairments to meet the 12-month duration test. If you have a severe impairment(s) and then develop another unrelated severe impairment(s) but neither one is expected to last for 12 months, we cannot find you disabled, even though the two impairment in combination last for 12 months.

If you have two or more concurrent impairments that, when considered in combination, are severe, we must determine whether the combined effect of your impairments can be expected to continue to be severe for 12 months. If one or more of your impairments improves or is expected to improve within 12 months, so that the combined effect of your remaining impairments is no longer severe, we will find that you do not meet the 12-month duration test.

602.3Does 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 of 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: Apr 19, 2017