Gavel and Stethoscope on white background - Chicago SSD AttorneyOne of the problematic aspects of Social Security disability insurance is how the system deals with those who have gaps in their employment history or who have lessened earnings. Because SSDI is based on the amount of money a person earned in the past, these gaps lower the amount of benefits that an SSDI claimant can receive.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration created something to mitigate this problem: the “disability freeze.” Under this concept, a person’s disability status is “frozen” to preserve the person’s eligibility for future disability benefits.

Who Qualifies for Disability Freeze?

There are three requirements to qualify for disability freeze. A claimant must:

  • Have insured status for SSDI,
  • File for disability either while disabled or within 12 months of when their disability ended, and
  • Be found disabled or blind according to the SSA.

What If My Impairment Began Years Ago?

If you can prove that you became disabled during the period while you were insured for SSDI, you will be eligible for a disability freeze.

What About SSI (Supplemental Security Income)?

Unfortunately, the disability freeze only applies to SSDI because it is based on a person’s earnings history.

What If I Am Not Receiving Disability Payments Currently?

Even if you are not receiving monthly disability payments, you may still be eligible for a disability freeze. If you choose to apply for disability benefits at a later time, the SSA will take note of your disability period and factor it into your regular disability benefit payments. This can increase the amount of your monthly payments.

However, this practice is heavily restricted and only available to certain claimants. It is only available for those who are legally blind but still able to work, those who have earnings as a railroad worker or in the armed forces during the time they are eligible for a disability freeze, and those who are currently incarcerated.

What About Early Retirement?

Instead of taking early retirement, you may consider applying for SSDI instead. If you apply for SSDI and then apply for a disability freeze, your benefits may be higher.

Contact a Chicago SSD Attorney

For more information on the disability freeze and SSDI, contact a Chicago SSD attorney at Chicago Disability Law. Call us today.