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Step 2 of the Sequential Evaluation: The Duration Requirement

In order for you to be approved for benefits, there are certain criteria that must be met. The Social Security Administration uses a 5-step process as part of its evaluation standards to make its decision. One of those steps calls for a duration requirement to be satisfied with regard to the length of your impairment.

Generally, unless your impairment is such that it is expected to result in your death, it must have lasted or be expected to last for an uninterrupted period of no less than 12 months. This requirement is typically not a problem for those impairments that have constantly varying intensity levels or have short stages of remission but that remain active long enough to prohibit you from participating in any substantial gainful activity on a continuous basis. A knowledgeable New Jersey disability attorney can further advise you with regard to your specific impairments.

Normally, the reason for a person’s denial on the basis of failing to meet the duration requirement is because, at the time of the decision, the requirement was not met and the impairment was the type that was likely to get better within a 12-month period. For those ailments that may or may not get better prior to the duration requirement being met, the agency’s decision-maker may choose to delay the case in order to see if you continue to be disabled; due to the slowness of the administrative process, the 12 months may have passed by the time you actually go to a hearing.

However, once you have met the 12-month duration requirement, you may seek a finding for a closed period of disability in situations where your condition has improved to the point that you have regained the ability to return to work. If you need a New Jersey disability lawyer, please contact Zager Fuchs, PC today for a free consultation.