Close-up of a Social Security Disability claim form with a pen, calculator, and eyeglasses.

What Is the Social Security Disability 5-Year Rule?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a lifesaver for those who are unable to work due to an injury or illness. However, it can be challenging to understand the complex rules that apply to certain SSDI cases. At Nappa Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, our Social Security Disability attorneys help clients in the greater NYC area understand the SSDI 5-year rule and how it may impact a claim for benefits.

What Is the Social Security Disability 5-Year Rule?

Generally, when someone applies for Social Security Disability benefits, they are required to wait five months before receiving those benefits. Under the Social Security Disability 5-Year Rule, if you have previously received SSDI benefits and become disabled again within five years, you are not subject to the five-month waiting period.

This means that if you received SSDI benefits within the last five years, stopped receiving them, and need to reapply, you can get benefits faster. It’s important to keep in mind that if a drug or alcohol addiction contributed to your disability, you will not qualify for the SSDI 5-year rule.

Who Benefits From the Social Security Disability 5-Year Rule?

The Social Security Disability 5-year rule is especially helpful for people whose disability gets better or worsens over time, or when a disability returns after treatment. For example, if someone receives SSDI benefits due to cancer and it returns after remission, they may reapply and get benefits again more quickly. If you or a loved one has received SSDI in the past and needs to submit a new Social Security Disability application, a New York SSDI lawyer can help to ensure you get them again as soon as possible.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

To qualify for the 5-year rule, your condition must meet the Social Security definition of disability. Your disability must last for at least 12 months, be expected to last for 12 months, or be expected to result in death.

In addition, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least five of the past 10 years before becoming disabled and accumulated a certain number of work credits for your age. If you have reached full retirement age, you are not eligible for these benefits.

Work credit exemptions may apply to the blind, those with certain severe medical conditions, people under the age of 31, and veterans with disabilities related to service. A Social Security Disability attorney can review your work history, help you understand SSDI work credits,  and determine how they may affect your eligibility.

Hiring an SSDI Lawyer Can Give You a Better Chance of Receiving Benefits Quickly

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be daunting. Failing to include important information and other errors can set the process back and leave you in a precarious financial situation. A Social Security Disability lawyer in the greater NYC area can assist you and determine whether your application can be fast-tracked using the 5-year rule or other programs like the SSDI Compassionate Allowance. Having an experienced attorney by your side also can give you peace of mind and make the process less stressful.

Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney in the Greater New York City Area

As native Staten Islanders, the SSDI lawyers at Nappa, Monterosso & Poznansky, LLP, are dedicated to serving individuals and families throughout the greater NYC area. Attorney and partner Rolando Cubela is proud to provide legal representation to our Spanish-speaking clients. If you have questions about the Social Security Disability 5-year rule or need help with an SSDI application or appeal, call us at 718-273-9000 or contact us online.

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